Barbadian Author whose Debut Novel appeared on Good Morning America recalls Editing Challenges
Cultural Mores (as in mor-rays, or ethics which define) are not always translatable or accepted universally. This is what I learned when I attended the book signing of Cherie Jones at Blackrock Books recently.
First off, Blackrock Books is owned by Andy Taitt and is very conveniently located almost next door to Esso Blackrock!
It is very intimate and loaded with second hand novels and educational textbooks, but Andy’s specialty is ordering books for people – such as Cherie’s thriller which is set on the fictional Baxter’s Beach off of Maxwell in Christ Church, I went to get a signed edition and ended up buying a western and an urban fantasy as well! UWI Professor Jane Bryce and author Philip Nanton were also attending, providing moral support and getting copies
So I stayed on and had some French-pressed coffee and learned of the vagaries of a Bajan publishing overseas… She told those present how there was a phrase about ” — the coolie man…” which means like hire purchase, a small monetary installment repeated over a long period to cover the purchase.
She explained to the editors about the phrase, and they were shocked and said it cannot be used, how can they sell copies of her book in Delhi and Mumbai? They insisted on her either changing the phrase or removing it altogether, she mentioned it as Barbadians use certain phrases and think nothing of it – but overseas have a whole new meaning.
Pre-COVID, when Cherie was travelling and was pursuing her MA, there was a seminar abroad where she was the sole Caribbean representative, so she recited a short story which would later become part of How The One Armed Sister Sweeps Her House. The book also earned much critical acclaim and consumer praise as The Book Of The Month with ABC TV’s Good Morning America.
Her fellow students while intrigued, asked why there was no Glossary of terms, since they were unfamiliar with many references. She correctly pointed out how books from either USA or Europe had references of their own which had no Glossary, so why should her works be so encumbered? If people wanted to understand, then go and use Google and so get a better grasp of what it is to be Caribbean.
How The One Armed Sister Sweeps Her House is excellent, just click on the embedded link and you can read a spoiler free review. Now you know where to go to acquire a hardcover edition, soon to have another printing available – but this time would be paperback.