Short Story about the Caribs


Writers’ fascination with the Caribs continue . . . this time in a short story by David Updike, son of the late John Updike, who is known primarily as an author of books for young adults, but has written fiction for a more mature audience. His first story collection, a slim one, Out on the Marsh, came out 21 years ago. It included 15 short stories, some of which originally appeared in The New Yorker, as had the work of his renowned father. A reviewer at The New York Times called the stories in this early collection “perceptive meditations on the passage from childhood to manhood.”
David Updike’s characters, a cosmopolitan mix of Brits, Bostonians, Danes, Pennsylvanians and Trinidadians, sometimes grapple with racial discrimination; others embrace tolerance. In “A Word with the Boy,” a father has to explain to his son why two London police officers have asked him to prove that his biracial son is indeed his.
In the best story, “Last of the Caribs,” Martin, 40 and married and at a conference in the Caribbean, has a summer affair with a married woman from Denmark.
Still, he lusts after a young Caribbean Indian girl, in a village where racial distrust is mutual. He suspects that the people thought “he was there to take things away — beads, baskets, photographs.”
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