New Book: Colin Duerden’s “Fried White Grunts”


Jessie Moniz Hardy (The Royal Gazette) reports on Colin Duerden’s new book Fried White Grunts. Duerden explains that Fried White Grunts is a series of interconnected stories inspired by his own experience as a child growing up in Bermuda. The book will be launched in Canada at the new Halifax Library in October, with a performance by the Caledonian Orchestra of Nova Scotia. The author says that he is also hard at work on a direct sequel to his thriller Bloodwater.

Description: Fried White Grunts follows the fascinating adventures and misadventures of a young boy and his Hill Gang, a little group of kids who live on one of the highest hills on the island paradise of Bermuda. But all is not idyllic in their childhood world as death, mischief and the innocence of youth intertwine, thrusting them into the reality of loss and the promise of hope.

I was six years old when we hanged David Robinson.

If it hadn’t been for the Durango Kid we probably never would have done it. As it was, it wasn’t much fun anyway because he just went right along with it, and you have to admit that a hanging probably isn’t as interesting if the person you’re hanging just goes along with it. But David was like that — easy going and compliant, ready to oblige all the time, just wanting to be one of the gang.

Which is why he died.

Here are excerpts from The Royal Gazette article:

Writer Colin Duerden said Fried White Grunts is a series of connected stories about growing up in Bermuda which drew inspiration from his own childhood here. He added: “It’s children’s stories for adults, but it’s not really a children’s book. Some of the stories probably could be read to children, but there are some that would raise some real questions in children’s minds.” He said the novel follows the adventures and misadventures of a young boy and his “hill gang” — a group of children living on one of the highest hills on the island.”

Dr Duerden explained that while Bloodwater was popular locally and internationally, he wanted to try a different type of story. He added: “I wanted to write something different, but still based in Bermuda. It’s fictional, but it’s based on some of the incidents that I experienced growing up here and others as well. [. . .] I wanted it to not be a fairytale type of story. I wanted it to be something real. A lot of tourists think of Bermuda as a fairytale destination, but growing up here is not a fairytale. Children growing up here sometimes go through things that are frightening or life changing.”

He added: “I wanted people who read it to somehow experience what it was like growing up in those days, to know what Bermuda was like in the not too distant past and what it was like for a child. It deals with death, it deals with redemption, it deals with hope.”

Dr Duerden said the book had got glowing reviews from figures like author Elaine McCluskey. But he added that the title has caused confusion overseas where people might not the fish used as the title. “In the context of the story, it’s understandable, but in Canada I have had a lot of questions about what a white grunt is. Every Bermudian worth his salt knows what a white grunt is.” [. . .]

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