Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Tide Running

Tide Running

A Novel

Oonya Kempadoo

Farrar, Straus and Giroux




A striking and sensuous novel set in the contemporary Caribbean, by one of fiction's bright new stars

On the island of Tobago, Cliff, a young man from the poor town of Plymouth, watches the arrival of a foreign couple and their child to a luxurious house overlooking the ocean. The couple invites Cliff into their home and lives, and a relationship develops that tests sexual boundaries while unexpectedly revealing the depth of their racial and cultural differences. Things begin to go wrong--money is missing, the couple's car disappears. Feelings of suspicion and guilt arise, raising unsettling questions of wealth and responsibility, brilliantly portrayed against the lush backdrop of Tobago and the harsh, brittle world of Plymouth.

Oonya Kempadoo's second novel compellingly brings to life the characters of the contemporary Caribbean and captures the predicament of a young society looking to America for its fantasies and its heroes. Kempadoo's language is utterly captivating, making her one of the most original writers of contemporary fiction.


Tide Running

sea breathing
The sea rolling and swelling up itself down by them rocks on Plymuth Point. Breathing out, sucking 'e belly back in. Every time it spuff slow, li'l crabs stop and hold on tight to the rocks....


Praise for Tide Running

“Kempadoo draws her characters and settings with such vivid strokes that her language leaps off the page . . . Her words create an infectious riot of rhythm and color.” —Jerome Boyd Maunsell, The Times (London)

“Kempadoo is extraordinary . . . her powerful novel about an ill-starred menage-a-trois--set as it is against a backdrop of devestating natural beauty and overwhelming material poverty and written with an incantatory lyricism--represents one of the finest attempts to come to terms with the emotional faultlines and historical complexities of contemporary Caribbean society. Tide Running's elemental resonance could easily qualify it as myth if it were not for the unsparing realism of its vision. Here is The Tempest once again but instead of Caliban, Ariel and Prospero we have Cliff, Peter and Bella, drawn together and ultimately torn apart by the shipwreck of history.

Kempadoo is the bright young star of Caribbean letters. Like Braithwaite, like Rhys, like Cliff, like Senior, like Lovelace, like Marshall, like Danticat, like Sención: Kempadoo breaks old stories, makes them anew.” —Junot Díaz, author of Drown

“Oonya Kempadoo is a lyrical poet hiding in a novelist's form. Tide Running puts most other books to shame with its illustrative details and inventive language. This story is the war of two worlds. The kind of writing you want to tell your friends about. Smart, powerful and a real pleasure.” —Victor LaValle, author of The Ecstatic

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Oonya Kempadoo

Oonya Kempadoo was born in England of Guyanese parents. She has lived in Europe and on various islands in the Caribbean. Her first novel, Buxton Spice, was published in 1998. Kempadoo now lives in Grenada.

Oonya Kempadoo

Thomas Langdon

Oonya Kempadoo

From the Publisher

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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