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Such As I Have

  • Such As I Have
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Excerpt

Such AS I Have

She fell silent again - funny kind a silent. He had a good mind what kinda silent it was. She wore jeans. Her legs stretched out in front of her along the side of the smooth stone ledge to rest in the grass. There was surrender in that look. He could tell. Or, if not surrender, there was a certain expectation. Her eyes seemed to cloud and she watched him closely stared boldly at him. He knew she was watching for his next move, and he was sure, that here and now, in this her private place, there would be little resistance.

“Quiet and nice he repeated.”

“That’s why I like it.” She did not move.

He watched her. Watched her half-opened lips bulge and pout, pressured by a poking prodding tongue. He watched her clouded eyes, her legs round and resting in the grass, her dark skin almost blending along the smooth stone. He watched her hair brown with the shifting patches of light shimmering through the leaves of the shadowing trees. She wanted him, he could tell. She expected him to make his move. Expected the dog in him . . . to move. He looked casually at her. He could feel the control passing across the cave as if it was a physical thing. It was his game now and he could play it how he wanted. She was his to take or leave, he could tell. But he did not move, maybe he would let her wait, now he could take his own time.

He rose. He saw her stiffen . . . with anticipation, he could tell, but he would let her wait. He bent next to her “What kind a book this?”

“Read the cover.”

He laughed, dropped it and stared down at her. “You really look comfortable inna you spot.”

“Is a comfortable spot.”

“Yeah.” He said and sought to catch her eyes once more.

She looked up at him and with the knowing look. “You know when it nice? Night time. Is night time it nice.”

He choked “Yeah.”

“Yeah. You must come here one night.”

“Yeah.”

“Yes.” She rose and brushed past him. “Let me show you.”

He almost touched her, almost held her by the elbow as she passed. Almost encircled her with his hand and urge her back. But he let her go. Let her slip by through the mouth of the cave and disappear through the curtain of trees. He turned and from there he could see her walking to the guinep tree on the small grassy clearing. He followed to stand beside her. She pointed over the hills, over Caymanas and beyond where Kingston was half masked by smog and smoke and the white shimmering heat of the sun.

“At nights.” She said “Night time, you must stand up here and look over cross there so. You never see nothing pretty so.”

“Yea.” His voice was hoarse to him. Hoarse and choking. “Yeah.”

“Yes.” She turned to him “If you want you can come tonight. I will show you.”

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Product Description

Such As I Have is the story of the relationship between Headly, the champion batsman of Slygoville, and Pam, the daughter of the village's warner woman. Despite their initial antagonism and mutual dislike, this relationship eventually blossoms into a powerful and overwhelming love that transforms Headly from a narcissistic sporting hero, with an oversized ego and a rather macho view of women, into an emotionally mature young man who learns the meaning of love, empathy and sacrifice. Pam's fatal illness forces Headly to come to terms with loss and to gain a greater appreciation of life. Such As I Have thus blends elements of the love story, the quest ordeal, and the narrative of spiritual and psychological transformation, into a crisply narrated and compelling tale that is as delightful as it is instructive.

 

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  1. Certainly lives up to its reputation

    Posted by The Jamaica Journal on 27th Feb 2012

    Garfield Ellis is a prize-winning writer of fiction who has steadily carved out a reputation as one of Jamaica's most promising young authors. His Novel, Such As I Have, published in the Macmillan Caribbean Writers Series, certainly lives up to this reputation, and it is an exemplary illustration of Ellis's assured handling of the craft of fiction. From beginning to end, Ellis hardly strikes a false or flawed note, and the novella is an exercise in sustained excellence, both in the surefooted telling of the story and the moral significance of its themes. In Such As I Have Ellis draws on certain timeless principles of storytelling to elaborate seemingly timeless themes, but narration and theme are thoroughly infused with Jamaican geographical, cultural, social and linguistic specifics to produce a story that radiates an assured sense of place.
    Such As I Have is the story of the relationship between Headly, the champion batsman of Slygoville, and Pam, the daughter of the village's warner woman. Despite their initial antagonism and mutual dislike, this relationship eventually blossoms into a powerful and overwhelming love that transforms Headly from a narcissistic sporting hero, with an oversized ego and a rather macho view of women, into an emotionally mature young man who learns the meaning of love, empathy and sacrifice. Pam's fatal illness forces Headly to come to terms with loss and to gain a greater appreciation of life. Such As I Have thus blends elements of the love story, the quest ordeal, and the narrative of spiritual and psychological transformation, into a crisply narrated and compelling tale that is as delightful as it is instructive.

    The novella is artfully structured around the sustained metaphor of the game of cricket, which is quite apt since cricket is the basis of Headly's reputation and his own sense of identity.
    Ellis is alert to the nuances of social mores, the subtle distinctions of class and color (even
    in a rural community), and the effect of place on the sensibility of individuals. In his poignant description of Pam's simple delight in watching the stadium lights come on at night, we grasp her wistful yearning to escape the limitations of her rural mountain community, her ambition to be more than what the social and economic cards have dealt her. In (...) Such As I Have, Ellis deploys a richly textured narrative, meticulously detailed realism and imaginative profundity that augur well for his future as a talented novelist.



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