In this riveting narrative of family, betrayal, vengeance, and murder, Lillian Baptiste is willed back to her island home of Dominica to finally settle her past. Haunted by scandal and secrets, Lillian left Dominica when she was fourteen after discovering she was the daughter of Iris, the half-crazy woman whose life was told of in chanté mas songs sung during Carnival: Matilda Swinging and Bottle of Coke; songs about a village on a mountaintop and bones and bodies; songs about flying masquerades and a man who dropped dead. Lillian knew the songs well. And now she knows these songs -- and thus the history -- belong to her. After twenty years away, Lillian returns to face the demons of her past, and with the help of Teddy, the man she refused to love, she will find a way to heal.
Set partly in contemporary Washington, D.C., and partly in post-World War II Dominica, Unburnable weaves together West Indian history, African culture, and American sensibilities. Richly textured and lushly rendered, Unburnable showcases a welcome and assured new voice.
"An incredibly captivating, well thought out, and unique story that had me hooked until the last page (when of course I had to make up my own happy ending!). I had no idea what was coming in the end, so it was fascinating to watch the story unfold and be able to retrace my steps to see the clues that were hidden along the way. It was very well put together and definitely a fascinating read."
"Unburnable by Marie-Elena John, a multigenerational family saga set in the Caribbean as well as America was such an interesting novel. I learned so much about WWII Domenica and was very entertained by the storyline. Different indeed!"
"I was captured by the very first paragraph in this novel; which compelled me to read further and untangle the story behind Iris, Matilda and Lillian! I was not disappointed. Marie-Elena John brings a fresh voice to the literary world. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and have already recommended it to my reading group as a monthly selection. "
Marie-Elena John is a former Africa development specialist. She and her husband and two children divide their time between Washington, D.C., and Antigua. This is her first novel.For more information, please follow this link: