Black and White Sands. A Bohemian Life in the Colonial Caribbean, Papillote Press, Dominica

Black and White Sands

A Bohemian Life in the Colonial Caribbean

by Elma Napier

£10.99

ISBN

9780993108617

PUBLISHED

2016

FORMAT

Paperback
Also an eBook

ISBN

9780993108617 

Published

2016

Format

Paperback
Also an eBook

Elma Napier’s remarkable memoir chronicles her love affair with Dominica. It began in 1932 when she turned her back on London’s high society to build a home in Calibishie, then a remote village on Dominica’s north coast.

There are tales of bohemian house parties, of war and death, smugglers and servants and, above all, of stories inspired by her political life as the only woman in a colonial parliament, her love for the island’s turbulent landscapes and her curiosity about the lives and culture of its people.

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Extract

“Mosquito Net at Elma Napier’s Estate”
A poem inspired by Black and White Sands

The mosquito net above the bed,
ghost of a writer who once visited her.
The spirit leaves the body above a caved
in mattress, sunken, about to collapse.
So many fictions dreamt on it. The muslin
ties at the bottom like a mango heavy in
a string market bag she bought in Baptiste.
Hangs like an exclamation mark for
the filmy subconscious more vivid than
the mountain view outside the window.
And more present than the mosquitos
gathering on its airy white slopes at night.

– by Nancy Anne Miller. Published in Poetry Ireland Review, 126, 2018

What they say

I envy Elma Napier for realising that most romantic of dreams: falling in love with a tropical island and deciding, like Robert Louis Stevenson, to make a life there. One of the most remarkable things about this remarkable woman is that she could write – and how! I can’t think of any evocation of a beautiful place more vivid than this.

Elma Napier had the gift to draw the reader in to the complexity of her experience in Dominica – its comedies, sadnesses, frustrations, deep satisfactions. A woman I won’t forget…a book that people will love.

– Diana Athill, author and publisher of Jean Rhys

[Napier’s] detailed descriptions of exploring Dominica, the frustrations of trying to implement change and improvement, and life in the colonial Caribbean during the war years, all make fascinating and very entertaining reading…A precious book, Black and White Sands is sure to captivate readers.
– Paul Crask, Caribbean Beat
A beautifully written memoir: the prose sparkles, the anecdotes are lively, the descriptions capture a natural world of wonderful richness and variety….Few books ever written give a better sense of what Elma Napier calls Dominica’s “mysterious charm”, a charm which has continued to entangle many visitors in its sweet embrace.
– Peter Hulme, New West Indian Guide
I envy Elma Napier for realising that most romantic of dreams: falling in love with a tropical island and deciding, like Robert Louis Stevenson, to make a life there. One of the most remarkable things about this remarkable woman is that she could write – and how! I can’t think of any evocation of a beautiful place more vivid than this.

Elma Napier had the gift to draw the reader in to the complexity of her experience in Dominica – its comedies, sadnesses, frustrations, deep satisfactions. A woman I won’t forget…a book that people will love.
– Diana Athill, author and publisher of Jean Rhys

[Napier’s] detailed descriptions of exploring Dominica, the frustrations of trying to implement change and improvement, and life in the colonial Caribbean during the war years, all make fascinating and very entertaining reading…A precious book, Black and White Sands is sure to captivate readers.
– Paul Crask, Caribbean Beat
A beautifully written memoir: the prose sparkles, the anecdotes are lively, the descriptions capture a natural world of wonderful richness and variety….Few books ever written give a better sense of what Elma Napier calls Dominica’s “mysterious charm”, a charm which has continued to entangle many visitors in its sweet embrace.
– Peter Hulme, New West Indian Guide

About the Author

Elma Napier

Elma Napier (1892-1973) wrote Black and White Sands in the 1960s in Dominica. By then she had written two novels, Duet in Discord and A Flying Fish Whispered, both published before the second world war, and two memoirs, Youth is a Blunder and Winter is in July.

About the Author

Elma Napier

Elma Napier (1892-1973) wrote Black and White Sands in the 1960s in Dominica. By then she had written two novels, Duet in Discord and A Flying Fish Whispered, both published before the second world war, and two memoirs, Youth is a Blunder and Winter is in July.