Of Water and Rock
Of Water and Rock derives its power from the basic human need for connectedness and belonging. When Torontonian Edward Hamblin steps off the plane in Barbados, in the winter of 1969, he crosses more than the tarmac at Seawell Airport. As he navigates the island's racial and cultural boundaries, he leaves behind an empty life of comfort and discovers a vibrant world of simple beauty, an undiscovered family, and reconciliation with the memory of a long dead father. Powerful converging themes give the novel an emotional strength: Edward Hamblin's immersion into the post-colonial culture of Barbados; his unresolved animosity towards his long dead Barbadian father who deserted his family when he was young; the poor black peasant farmer, Sissy Braithwaite, and her unrequited love for an abandoned daughter; the wealthy white Mary Collymore's disconnected life of privilege and racial intolerance. After Sissy's death, when Edward discovers his Great Aunt's diary, the apparently disconnected threads are drawn together. As well as revealing the true relationships between the protagonists, Edward hears his father's voice, comes to understand and pity the man that he has for so long despised, and resolves to unite his newly discovered family in a way his father never could
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About the Author
Thomas Armstrong visited Barbados for the first time in 1979 and fell in love with more than the island. He married a Barbadian. From the very first the island and its people impressed upon him a sense of time and place that was both wondrous and sad. A short story, Flying in God's Face, since published in POUI, the literary journal of Cave Hill, University of the West Indies, was originally written for a reunion of his wife's family in 2005. Dedicated to his mother-in-law, the matriarchal head of his Barbadian family, this story was the seed from which this novel grew. In 2009, the novel was entered in the Frank Collymore Literary Awards, where it won second prize. Thomas Armstrong is educated in Mathematics and Science, currently makes a living as a software developer, and divides his time between Canada and Barbados. He is married and has two children.