And Sometimes They Fly: A Broken Pencil review

And Sometimes They Fly, Robert Edison Sandiford, 186 pages, DC Books, http://www.dcbooks.ca, $18.95

Step aside Justice League, there’s a new super team in town. Called to action following the cataclysmic events of 9/11, it’s up to David, Frank and Marsha, three young bajans, to accept their destiny as The Elect and restore balance to the world.

Myth and reality come together in “And Sometimes They Fly” to delivery a powerful narrative that explores the nature of good and evil, fate and courage. Our three protagonists do not pretend to have it all figured out. They are afraid, they doubt – which quite frankly is a natural reaction to being told the fate of the planet rests in your young inexperienced hands. Guided by Milton, a mysterious mind reading Elder who poses as a lecturer at their university, they navigate through a treacherous world slowly taken over by dark forces.

Set in Barbados, not only are we treated to beautiful descriptions of its landscape and people but we also discover characters like the obeah women, Heart Man and the Steel Donkey, prominent figures in caribbean folklore and culture. No matter where you come from these colourful people will ignite memories of your childhood bed time stories. Much like Sandiford himself, our heroes’ lives are also linked to Canada. Montreal even becomes the stage for one of the most poignant part of David, Frank and Marsha’s Journey.

Sandiford’s prose reads like poetry. Part patois, part english, his writing may be a challenge for some less familiar with the language but all the more beautiful. He leads you into a world full of magic, danger, action and presents us with the first truly caribbean superheroes.

A Case of Exploding Mangoes

Think Pakistani Catch-22. To call “A Case of Exploding Mangoes” that however, would be to ignore the unique stand alone piece of fiction that it is. Ali Shigri, A young soldier in General Zia era’s Pakistan army seeks answers and retribution for his father’s apparent suicide. Satirical criticism of the military state, this novel is not only hilarious but a rather interesting and beautifully written study on the army world and its idiosyncrasies.