The Lesson
July 29, 2019 5:21 PM - by Cadwell Turnbull - Subscribe

An alien ship rests over Water Island. For five years the people of the US Virgin Islands have lived with the Ynaa, a race of superadvanced aliens on a research mission they will not fully disclose. They are benevolent in many ways but meet any act of aggression with disproportional wrath. This has led to a strained relationship between the Ynaa and the local Virgin Islanders and a peace that cannot last. A year after the death of a young boy at the hands of an Ynaa, three families find...

Written with a deep sense of place leaves you feeling like you just visited the US Virgin Islands, and a plot that goes way beyond standard first contact fare to make thoughtful connections between white European colonialism in the Caribbean with the tentacle headed reptilian colonialism on the island in the book, US Virgin native Caldwell Turner has delivered a debut novel that has me already wondering what he will give us next.
posted by COD (5 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
This sounds great - I'll be picking it up!
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:22 AM on July 30, 2019

Seconded -- thank you for posting this!
posted by bassooner at 10:26 AM on July 30, 2019

Sounds cool, and when i clicked the amazon link i discovered it's $ 0 .99, which is too good to pass up.
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:24 AM on July 30, 2019

Also picked this up to read on a flight yesterday. About a third of the way through, and liking it so far.
posted by Alterscape at 2:13 PM on August 2, 2019

I have mixed feelings. The parts that dealt with the human characters and how they reacted to the new colonization were, I thought, pretty good literary fiction. I found the stuff dealing with the ETs' POV was a bit weaker, though I'm hesitant to get into why since I'm not sure who else here has read through to the end. The the climax was well-set-up, I thought, insofar as it was mostly an escalation of other things, from all involved, but it also read as sort of a non-event, which didn't entirely work for me (I'm also a person who thinks the reimagined Battlestar Galactica got weaker as the Cylons' motivations and internal politics were revealed -- this works better than that, but still left me wanting something different, though maybe it had to be this way to move the author's polemic forward).

I appreciated that the author elided the moments that would've been the Big Action Setpieces in a Hollywood film and limited the perspective to how characters who were pretty average dealt with the aftermath (with one exception, where a POV character is an active participant). Then again the author also elided some fairly significant interpersonal drama for the primary POV characters, and I'm trying to make sense of that. We hear a lot about significant events after the fact, all around. That's a stylistic choice, since the reader gets the benefit of both the history, and the characters reflection on that history, but didn't entirely work for me. I'm also unsure what to do with the last chapter relative to the rest of the book, which again I'm hesitant to get into in case this shows up in Recent Activity for people who haven't finished yet.
posted by Alterscape at 9:13 AM on August 3, 2019

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