- Permanent Link:
- The hills of Hebron
- Wynter, Sylvia ( Author, Primary )
- Place of Publication:
- J. Cape
- Publication Date:
- [1st ed.]
- 283 p. ; 21 cm.
- Curator Notes: A novel about a preacher who must come to terms with himself and with his suspected adulterous wife, all within a community called the New Believers, on Jamaica. The novel's plot concerns a revivalist group called the New Believers who are at a turning point as a result of their founder's death. As a gesture of commitment, the new leader, Obadiah Brown, promises to abstain from sex with his wife Rose until the next hurricane has passed. During this period of claimed abstention, Rose becomes pregnant; several community members, among them Miss Gatha, condemn the couple for hypocrisy. We eventually learn that Miss Gatha's son Isaac, whose mother covets the eldership for her son, raped Rose when he stole the group's money before abandoning friends and family. By the end, the characters attribute clear lessons to the recent events, not least of which is the folly of religious fervor and preventive isolationism. The novel is considered a nexus of the author's critical and feminist concerns. Her investment in messaging through plot, addressing concerns as broad-ranging as postcolonial political leadership and the influence of imperialism on education, has the potential to crowd out what is a suspenseful plot written in vivid and accessible prose. However, the novel has been overwhelmingly well-received by regional critics and deserves greater attention from the larger community of English-speaking critics.
- Creation/Production Credits:
- Adams, Tom (jacket design)
- Sylvia Wynter (1928- ) was born in Cuba to Jamaican parents and, at the age of two, her family returned to Jamaica. Like several of her contemporaries, Wynter's secondary school success earned her a scholarship to King's College in London, where she did her undergraduate and graduate work. Although best known for The Hills of Hebron, this is Wynter's only novel. She has written four plays, and has been most prolific as an academic and essayist, authoring well over twenty publications. Pursuing her initial interest in theater, one play, Under the Sun, is an early incarnation of "Hills's" plot. As Professor Emeritus at Princeton University, Sylvia Wynter continues her critical work on West Indian literature and stands as an early and significant figure in what is largely a field void of Caribbean women writers.
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