On the high seas of the Caribbean, a family of English children is set loose – sent by their parents from their home in Jamaica to receive the civilising effects of England. When their ship is captured by pirates, the thrilling cruise continues as the children transfer their affections from one batch of sailors to another. Innocence is their protection, but as life in the care of pirates reveals its dangers, the events which unfold begin to take on a savagely detached quality.
I read Richard Hughes’ A High Wind in Jamaica this year and felt breathless with shock and awe… Appallingly dark story…dreadfully funny.
On one level it's an exciting adventure story with great storms and earthquakes, terrific animals, unruly children and some dubious pirates. What more, when young, could you want? But all this coexists with another narrative, darker and more sophisticated, complex and tragic. You can read this book over again and have read a different novel.
A fascinating study in child psychology