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Behind The Face Of Winter

H. Nigel Thomas’s second novel covers much of the same physical and psychological territory as his first, Spirits in the Dark (1993). The earlier book is set entirely on fictional Isabella Island, a small Eastern Caribbean country similar to the author’s native St. Vincent; the second begins on Isabella and later shifts to Montreal, to which the author himself emigrated at twenty-one. The novels also share a similar structure: brief opening and closing sections bracket recollections of the past as their respective protagonists search for identity and purpose. The well-established conventions of the West Indian coming-of-age novel are observed, with Winter, more overtly than Spirits, working within the potentially more complex sub-genre which portrays the lives of growing boys whose fathers are absent, lost, or unknown. – Doug Rollins

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