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Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021
SHORTLISTED

Audiofile Earphones Award Winner 2021


‘Jones’s atmospheric debut has a multiracial, multigenerational cast who are brilliantly and even-handedly portrayed’ Sunday Times

‘Rare is the first book that reveals the writer fully formed, the muscles and sinews of her sentences firm and taut, the voice distinctly her own’ Washington Post

‘A hard-hitting and unflinching novel from a bold new writer’ Bernardine Evaristo

‘A bright new star. Cherie Jones draws us with skill, delicacy and glorious style into a vortex of Bajan lives on the edge’ Diana Evans


In Baxter’s Beach, Barbados, Lala’s grandmother Wilma tells the story of the one-armed sister, a cautionary tale about what happens to girls who disobey their mothers.

For Wilma, it’s the story of a wilful adventurer, who ignores the warnings of those around her, and suffers as a result.

When Lala grows up, she sees it offers hope – of life after losing a baby in the most terrible of circumstances and marrying the wrong man.

And Mira Whalen? It’s about keeping alive, trying to make sense of the fact that her husband has been murdered, and she didn’t get the chance to tell him that she loved him after all.

HOW THE ONE-ARMED SISTER SWEEPS HER HOUSE is the powerful, intense story of three marriages, and of a beautiful island paradise where, beyond the white sand beaches and the wealthy tourists, lies poverty, menacing violence and the story of the sacrifices some women make to survive.

‘An extraordinarily hard-hitting and evocative novel that packs a tremendous punch with its repercussions of generational trauma, pin-sharp characterisations and strong sense of place’ Daily Mail

(P)2021 Headline Publishing Group Limited

Reviews

This book unfolds around the reader like ripples in water, it offers an unflinching vision of what it means to have a body and to fight to protect that body, it demands attention. These are characters' voices I will be hearing for a long time and a book I will be recommending to everyone
Daisy Johnson
A hard-hitting and unflinching novel from a bold new writer who tackles head-on the brutal extremes of patriarchal abuse
Bernardine Evaristo
Cherie Jones' How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House is an intricately plotted allegory that explores the consequences of believing that you know better than the women who made you and charts the inheritance of trauma that is all too common in Caribbean women's lives. With rare compassion and deft storytelling, Jones renders a narrative that is haunting and unforgettable
Naomi Jackson
A gripping thriller, a symphony of voices and a novel of deep empathy
Mark Haddon
Here is a bright new star. Cherie Jones has talent abounding, drawing us with skill, delicacy and glorious style into a vortex of Bajan lives on the edge, clashing across class and colour divides. This is one of the strongest, most assured and heart-wrenching debuts I have ever read
Diana Evans
A crime-riddled literary novel, Jones's atmospheric debut has a multiracial, multigenerational cast who are brilliantly and even-handedly portrayed
Sunday Times
Visceral and haunting
Cosmopolitan
Set in Barbados, this novel unflinchingly explores the violence, trauma and sadness of its characters but is written with total beauty and insight. These people won't leave you any time soon and marks Cherie Jones as a writer of immense power
Stylist
Cherie Jones' attention to detail [delves] deep into the intimate moments of each woman. A secret language forms between you, as the reader, and the women of Baxter's Beach. Acts of violence come out of nowhere and feel deeply personal... How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House reeled me in and hasn't quite let go of me yet.
Badformreview.com
An extraordinarily hard-hitting and evocative novel that packs a tremendous punch with its repercussions of generational trauma, pin-sharp characterisations and strong sense of place
Daily Mail
One of Jones's many gifts is the ability to show us flawed human beings with their humanity fully intact, to call us to examine the terrible beast within ourselves... Jones balances the novel's graphic violence with prose that is both evocative and wistful, haunting. Generational trauma is braided through with grief in the same over-under-over-under way that Lala cornrows the hair of her white customers. For these tourists, Paradise is an escape from their reality; for Lala and the locals, Paradise is the reality they long to escape. One where secrets shroud truth and darkness steals not just arms, but entire souls
New York Times
A dark tale of incest, domestic violence and murder, set against a backdrop of generational poverty, and a bracingly fatalistic account of male violence
Irish Times
Rare is the first book that reveals the writer fully formed, the muscles and sinews of her sentences firm and taut, the voice distinctly her own
Washington Post
Intensely compelling...You are ensnared in a web with these characters and their trauma; their claustrophobia becomes your own. It's a startling achievement. There is very little light in this novel, but what shines through instead is a pitiless truth that stays with you long after the story ends
Guardian
Jones's forensic prose reveals a society riven by hardship, betrayal and inequality... A novel of great elegance and verve - hard to believe it's a debut
Maggie O'Farrell, Daily Mail