“This is a lovely collection of short stories about fictional characters and events in Bathsheba, a small seaside village, on the rugged East coast of Barbados, facing the Atlantic.
The events described here could have been taking place anywhere in the world, and thus have global validity. However, all 10 stories reveal a strong emotional investment by the author, in that place. Each story deals with a different topic and depicts distinct characters. The stories are written in a beautiful style, easy to follow and full of wisdom and humour.
The epicenter of the stories is in Bathsheba, and even when the action takes place elsewhere, such as in “Desmond Lola and Bassman”, there is always a Bathsheba connection. All of the stories deal with fundamental aspects of human life. In the “Price of Fish” a young fisherman mobilizes and leads a rescue operation risking his life, to save others and the local fishing fleet during a severe Atlantic gale, luckily, with a happy ending. In “Facing North” we learn about the consequences of lending money to “trustworthy friends” and about looking in the wrong direction for the right answer. In “Iron Man Jones” a young newspaper reporter is searching for the truth from a retired policeman, about her grandfather’s shooting. In “Breadfruit Brouhaha” the author deals with petty competition, rich against poor, the despair of poverty and the funny side of a mother’s bravery. “Island Man” is a love story between two people ultimately separated by opposing professional ambitions and distinct socio-political outlooks on life. Perhaps in a follow-up story, the author may still bring the two main characters together.
In “Desmond Lola and Bassman”, – the story I liked the most – a highly talented jazz bassist (Bassman),living in London but born in Bathsheba gives the author the opportunity to express his views on the power of music, of war, of illness, of love and of cultural identity.
In the last story, ” The New Sybaris” the action takes place in the future (It commences in 2015) and deals with the attempt at a major real estate grab by a large corporation, from the individual home-owners of the Bathsheba area, in order to build expensive condominiums and commercial centers for international interests. The story is beautifully written in the detective story style with a lot of political intrigue that reaches even the office of the Prime Minister. Interesting to note that many of the characters that we meet in Facing North re-appear here, most of them in a positive light.
I was sorry to finish this book.” – Dr. Gill Strejan – through Amazon.com
“Reminiscent of some of Mavis Gallant‘s short fiction… The stories, all good reads, deal with serious current issues of …politics, economics, race, sex, land appropriation and identity…these are hopeful stories…” – Robert Edison Sandiford author of forthcoming AND SOMETIMES THEY FLY
“(Edison T. Williams) is a story teller! He has the technique of gripping the reader from the beginning. (His) endings are classic Somerset Maugham/O. Henry. I have my favourites among the stories, ‘Desmond Lola and Bassman‘ is fascinating…’The New Sybaris‘ is a riveting read… but I really loved them all.” – Peter Laurie, author of MAUBY’S QUEST FOR THE MAGIC FLOWER AND OTHER BOOKS
“…an excellent collection of short stories and a couple not so short. Good set of characters that remind me of Steinbeck’s Cannery Row…I would love to meet these characters… ‘The New Sybaris‘ is substantial and intricate in describing the many motives involved in a political issue. I liked every story… If I can speak for the public, we want more.” – Lennard Sillanpää, Ontario, Canada – Author of AWAKENING SIBERIA
“These stories conjure up the place, the people, the surf and the sand crunching under your feet, the sunrise and the salt air. You can almost feel the breeze and smell that unique and heady Bathsheba smell!
It’s a collection of just ten short stories – all perfectly poised, beautifully crafted, gripping tales of amazing variety, yet each one flows so easily that you quickly seem to know the characters personally – to see them and understand them. The first story is breath taking and intensely moving – to be honest, the tension and the depth of emotion transmitted brought tears to my eyes.
It was followed by a racy tale with twists and turns, and the “shocking” twist in the tale – in Jeffrey Archer style – completely surprised me. It almost kept me awake that night! But every story also carries a relevant message, transmitted from a place and a community that’s the true soul of Barbados – Bathsheba – Facing North …a metaphor in several ways. It’s a “must read”.” ‘Things that matter most’ by Professor Henry Fraser -The Barbados Advocate 3rd. November 2013