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Francis-Sharma mines Trinidadian heritage in debut novel

This book cover image released by Henry Holt and Co. shows "Til the Well Runs Dry," by Lauren Francis-Sharma. (AP Photo/Henry Holt and Co.)

This book cover image released by Henry Holt and Co. shows "Til the Well Runs Dry," by Lauren Francis-Sharma. (AP Photo/Henry Holt and Co.)

Much like the varied Trinidadian population it seeks to illustrate, ’Til the Well Runs Dry is something of a jumble of people and interests striving for space.

The story follows three generations of the family of Marcia Garcia, who is introduced in the novel as a teenager burdened with two young boys, a relentless suitor and a lingering family shame.

The novel is set from the 1940s through the 1960s, and Marcia’s family grows as Trinidad emerges from colonial rule. Marcia, an isolated seamstress, has a slight connection to the island’s politics, but her struggle for her own stability and independence takes precedence.

Lauren Francis-Sharma is the New York-born daughter of Trinidadian immigrants, and while sometimes tedious in its pacing, her novel is rich in its descriptions of Caribbean fruits and spices, the long journeys required on the island’s winding roads and the close, sometimes suffocating nature of life in small villages.

Associated Press

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