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Kreiner, Philip.

Ottawa, Oberon Press, c 1984. 165pp, paper, ISBN 0-88750-556-2 (cloth) $23.95, 0-88750-557-0 (paper) $12.95.

Grade 12 and up
Reviewed by Vivienne Denton

Volume 13 Number 2
1985 March

Heartlands describes the experiences of a Canadian in the Caribbean. The protagonist, Jimmy, a white Canadian who lives and works in Jamaica, is made uncomfortably aware of the prejudices instilled in him by his Northern Ontario upbringing when his sister arrives for a rest holiday. She brings her tourist preconceptions about life on the island in the sun, and WASP attitudes towards the black population of the island. Her presence makes Jimmy guiltily aware of these attitudes in himself, even as he valiantly tries to rid himself of them. He sighs with relief when his sister leaves.

The social message of the story is somewhat marred by wooden characterization. The Canadian sister, arriving with her creeds fur-draped over her arm, is too vapid to be true, and Jimmy's Jamaican mistress and several stock island characters are similarly stereotyped. The real interest in the book is the moral dilemma of the protagonist and the tensions created by his awareness of his own deep rooted cultural attitudes. The novel invites the reader to take a hard look at some of the cultural assumptions made by Canada's white community about the Caribbean and about black culture.

Vivienne Denton, Toronto, Ont.
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