St. Lucia: Existential crisis

Living on an island makes many young men want to leave. They dream about moving to Canada or England to study. The young women are afraid of losing their boyfriends to studying abroad. Love and future prospects in life are important themes in A Room on the Hill by Garth St. Omer.

John’s mother dies, which gets John to think about his life. Only a couple of years before John’s best friend drowned in front of John’s eyes. John starts seeing flashback from throughout his life. Losing your mother and best friend are naturally life-changing events, and makes anyone wonder about life. John has usually escaped life to his own place – a room on the hill – but he can no longer find peace within.

John opens up to new things, more action in life, leaving his safe and comfortable room. John wants change, but he does not really know what he wants. He knows he does not want to have a life like the others lead around him. John questions people’s motivations and life on the island feels distressing. Important subjects like religion and colonialism are constantly lurking in the background.

It is not an uplifting book, rather it makes you think about your own life, life in general and the society around you. It makes you question things, but you might not get any answers. Everyone has to fight one’s own battles. This book was published in 1968, but it is still valid today. We have the same questions regarding our future, occupation, culture, religion, existence, people around us and what to do about your life.

This short book is much bigger than it seems. It is worth a read if you like to ponder about life and its meaning, people in crises or Caribbean literature.

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