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Passing Through [Paperback]

Colin Channer
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 29 2004
From the national bestselling author of Waiting in Vain and Satisfy My Soul comes a sexy, witty collection of connected stories set on San Carlos, a tiny island with an old volcano in the Caribbean Sea.

Spanning the early 1900s up to modern times, the stories trace the intersecting lives of travelers, expatriates, and local folks in ways that shock, illuminate, and reveal. From the American photographer who finds her world disturbed by new forms of love and lust, to a charismatic priest confronted by the earthly perks of fame and stardom, the diverse mix of characters are united by the universal search for love and understanding—a challenge on an island simmering with issues of politics, power, and race.

Written with poetic grace and titillating candor, each story shines against its own tableau—World War II, the rise of Fidel Castro, Mt. Pelée devastating Martinique, import-export trading, Bob Marley in the days before his music echoed all around the world. As men and women fall in love, marry and remarry, face moral conflicts and new identities, the volcano sees it all. From plantation days to the roots of revolution, it is a silent witness to the turbulent century that engulfs this tiny island of eternal humor, passion, and allure.

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Review

"No one describes the wonders and aches of love as sensuously as Colin Channer, and Channer has no rival when it comes to capturing the rhythmic beauty of island patois on the page. In Passing Through, Channer's silky prose is at its absolute finest; the stories are interwoven like a tapestry, a tapestry which scans across the panorama of Caribbean history to create an entirely new vocabulary of love, loss and discovery."
Z.Z. Packer, author of Drinking Coffee Elsewhere


"Colin Channer is a wonderfully funny, piercing, crafty and compassionate writer, and Passing Through is a remarkable literary achievement. The stories bring with them the keen thrill of having discovered a truly fresh, original voice-Channer's multiform vision of the Carribean and the people who flow in and out of it is an exciting and even vital contribution to the world of the short story."
Dan Chaon, author of You Remind Me of Me and Among the Missing

"Passing Through takes you to the islands, into the nitty-gritty of being an islander, and the taste of being in the Caribbean. And Colin's smooth Jamaican rhythm comes through his sentences. If you can't take a trip, take this as a little taste." -Toure, author of Soul City

"A splendid collection by one of the Caribbean Diaspora's finest writers. These tales are masterful distillations that teem with humor, with passion, with hope. Channer's compassion never fails to amaze." -Junot Diaz

From the Back Cover

"No one describes the wonders and aches of love as sensuously as Colin Channer, and Channer has no rival when it comes to capturing the rhythmic beauty of island patois on the page. In Passing Through, Channer's silky prose is at its absolute finest; the stories are interwoven like a tapestry, a tapestry which scans across the panorama of Caribbean history to create an entirely new vocabulary of love, loss and discovery."
Z.Z. Packer, author of Drinking Coffee Elsewhere


"Colin Channer is a wonderfully funny, piercing, crafty and compassionate writer, and Passing Through is a remarkable literary achievement. The stories bring with them the keen thrill of having discovered a truly fresh, original voice-Channer's multiform vision of the Carribean and the people who flow in and out of it is an exciting and even vital contribution to the world of the short story."
Dan Chaon, author of You Remind Me of Me and Among the Missing

"Passing Through takes you to the islands, into the nitty-gritty of being an islander, and the taste of being in the Caribbean. And Colin's smooth Jamaican rhythm comes through his sentences. If you can't take a trip, take this as a little taste." -Toure, author of Soul City

"A splendid collection by one of the Caribbean Diaspora's finest writers. These tales are masterful distillations that teem with humor, with passion, with hope. Channer's compassion never fails to amaze." -Junot Diaz

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
IN WHITE, AT DUSK, on the final day of all that he had known to be his life, Eddie Blackwell left Eugenia sleeping in a ball of naked flesh and made two strides across the planking to the open door. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt
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Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Warm Caribbean Breeze July 17 2004
Format:Paperback
Passing Through
By: Colin Channer 4 stars
Passing Through is a collection of short stories about a group of people living on a Caribbean island. The stories trace the lives of these characters and their offspring from the 1900's to the present. The stories seduce, shock and reveal secrets. Colin writes like a warm Caribbean breeze. He gives such spice and detail to his characters. This collection of stories will tease the senses.
Although I didn't find it as sultry as Waiting in Vain or Satisfy My Soul Passing Through left me satisfied.
Reviewed by: Dawn
Mahogany Book Club
Albany, N.Y.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Witty and Wise - An Island Odyssey July 15 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I am not one for overly gushing accolades, and have never before felt compelled to post an online review - complimentary or otherwise. However, having recently completed "Passing Through" I feel I must encourage others to experience this vivid and stimulating world exposed by Mr. Channer.
You will be struck by the depth and intensity of the characters, moved by their pettiest struggles and loftiest ambitions, and thoroughly enchanted by the scenery along the paths, roads and highways that the pages will lead you through. This is a love story, a suspense thriller, a docu-drama, a comic farce, and yet none of these things - all at once. It feels as real as a letter from home or a telephone call from a distant, but much-loved, friend. You will probably suspect that the writer must have once met your scary cousin Lou or your cool Aunt Jane, and used them as the basis for a couple of characters.
Passing Through is a "must-read" for those of Caribbean heritage, as the sights, sounds, smells and experiences the narrative evokes will refresh your spirit like nothing else can, short of actually returning home. However, it has a message for everyone - sometimes basic, sometimes profound, but always subtle. The story does not preach, but nevertheless manages to inspire.
No review that I can write could fully capture the essence of this tale. I highly recommend it for the discriminating reader who seeks the world of meaning which lies just beyond the mundane, and for anyone who simply wants to relax and enjoy a truly great read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars What a Journey! July 6 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Colin Channer takes me into his world, on to his island and into the lives of all his marvellous characters. I just finished reading the entire collection and have started it again much to the dismay of my girlfriends who all want to borrow it. But not this time, girls, you all have to buy your own copy. This one is staying right beside my bed with all the "good" parts highlighted and pages marked so I can find them easily!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Delight and Challenge, Resonance and Insight July 5 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is a book that delighted and challenged me in turn. I find myself reading Channer's books for many reasons. In Passing Through, I read for the characters such as Eddie Blackwell, whose calling as a priest I finally believed when he considered living without his faith. I read for the images such as the steam boat with a proper Edwardian promenade on deck and a Caribbean fiesta below, rendered with detail and texture that this bald statement does not do justice. I read for the perfectly turned and sculpted sentences, such as 'In those days, marriage was, for women, a profession, a serious occupation that required teams of coaches, grooms and scouts'.
Most of all, like the characters, I must come to terms with the events and interactions that occur. The situations are simple enough, the responses are what hold the interest. There is a strong, morally complex celebration of life which redeems the characters, and the work as a whole.
As with all Channer's work, with Passing through I find myself thinking about the connections and patterns and meanings after I put it down. A phrase about kindness pops back into my mind connected with A Street Car Named Desire. The significances of the volcano are suddenly so clear I almost think I saw them all along. And I see new ways to interpret events in my own life that I thought I already understood.
I recommend that you read one of Colin Channer's other novels or the novella before you read Passing Through. "Waiting in Vain", "I'm Still Waiting", or "Satisfy My Soul" will allow you to become familiar with the way Channer uses erotic situations and family history to focus on the characters' issues and relate their issues to larger human concerns.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Summery, Sexy & Smart July 1 2004
Format:Paperback
This book allowed me to travel to the Caribbean and spend a hundred years in a wondefully sensual environment for the bargain price of $13.95. Can anything be better than that?
Although the book is called a collection of stories it is really a novel told in story form. I read it from beginning to end and it felt like a novel to me. My girlfriend read each story according to her mood and she enjoyed it that way. Although the stories are connected, each story is a story on its own.
My favorite stories are "The Girl With The Golden Shoes" and "How I Met My Husband."
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