In Baxter’s Beach, Barbados, Lala’s grandmother Wilma tells the story of the one-armed sister, a cautionary tale about what happens to girls who disobey their mothers.
For Wilma, it’s the story of a wilful adventurer, who ignores the warnings of those around her, and suffers as a result.
When Lala grows up, she sees it offers hope – of life after losing a baby in the most terrible of circumstances and marrying the wrong man.
And Mira Whalen? It’s about keeping alive, trying to make sense of the fact that her husband has been murdered, and she didn’t get the chance to tell him that she loved him after all.
HOW THE ONE-ARMED SISTER SWEEPS HER HOUSE is the powerful, intense story of three marriages, and of a beautiful island paradise where, beyond the white sand beaches and the wealthy tourists, lies poverty, menacing violence and the story of the sacrifices some women make to survive
A crime-riddled literary novel, Jones’s atmospheric debut has a multiracial, multigenerational cast who are brilliantly and even-handedly portrayed
An extraordinarily hard-hitting and evocative novel that packs a tremendous punch with its repercussions of generational trauma, pin-sharp characterisations and strong sense of place
One of Jones’s many gifts is the ability to show us flawed human beings with their humanity fully intact, to call us to examine the terrible beast within ourselves… Jones balances the novel’s graphic violence with prose that is both evocative and wistful, haunting. Generational trauma is braided through with grief in the same over-under-over-under way that Lala cornrows the hair of her white customers. For these tourists, Paradise is an escape from their reality; for Lala and the locals, Paradise is the reality they long to escape. One where secrets shroud truth and darkness steals not just arms, but entire souls
New York Times
Acts of violence come out of nowhere and feel deeply personal… How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House reeled me in and hasn’t quite let go of me yet.
A dark tale of incest, domestic violence and murder, set against a backdrop of generational poverty, and a bracingly fatalistic account of male violence
A hard-hitting and unflinching novel from a bold new writer who tackles head-on the brutal extremes of patriarchal abuse
‘Jones’s atmospheric debut has a multiracial, multigenerational cast who are brilliantly and even-handedly portrayed’ Sunday Times
‘Rare is the first book that reveals the writer fully formed, the muscles and sinews of her sentences firm and taut, the voice distinctly her own’ Washington Post
‘A hard-hitting and unflinching novel from a bold new writer’ Bernardine Evaristo
‘A bright new star. Cherie Jones draws us with skill, delicacy and glorious style into a vortex of Bajan lives on the edge’ Diana Evans