The Girl with Golden Shoes
In 1942, on the fictitious island of San Carlos in the Caribbean, a sexually mature fourteen-year-old girl named Estrella is rejected and cursed because she has greeted a British military scuba diver who lands mysteriously upon the island. Banished from her fishing village home and dysfunctional family, she sets off on a journey to the big city in search of the ideal life of her dreams, which she believes is in Paris. But she must first reach Seville, her island’s capital, and in order to do so she needs money. To get money she must find work, and in order to find work, she must first buy a pair of shoes. This launches her onto a near impossible mission.
Almost immediately, Estrella encounters trouble and finds herself stranded in an unwelcoming town where everything she owns is stolen and then mysteriously reappears. Throughout this journey, Estrella encounters numerous men who sometimes come to her aid or exist simply to extract their price from her. With every adversity, Estrella discovers more about herself, sometimes holding on to her ideals, sometimes changing and evolving as the demands of society dictate.
This literary novella is written with a brilliant simplicity and in a unique voice. The characters’ dialogue is written in the native Jamaican dialect of Sancoche which brings out the flavour of the Caribbean. The tale has a strong moral backbone as it weaves Estrella’s misfortunes into a short, but powerful, gripping plot.
Colin Channer’s other works have received international acclaim, and I predict this novel will too.