| | Novels
| || Seas Outside the Reef: a Novel (2000)|
The beautiful, mysterious Emily De Soto returns to Key West, where, as a child, she visited her grandparents. She's an adult now, married to a Cuban political philosopher she hasn't seen in 14 years. That's why she's in Key West: to help smuggle her husband, Raul, into the United States. But while she's waiting for Raul, Emily falls in love with an apolitical sailor named Harry. When Raul arrives, Emily must choose between the man who fought alongside Fidel and now wants out, and her stormy new lover with a fragile heart. Before the novel ends, one man will claim Emily's loyalty, and the other will die. As the plot thickens, so do the skies. The weather gets stormy, and the sea churns as dangerously as the hearts of the protagonists. In a classical counterpoint, a slut named Wanda wanders the streets of Key West, peddling pornographic poems themed to the action on the novel.
| || The Beautiful Routes Of The West (1996)|
From Publishers Weekly
This uneven collection centers around British poet Brackenbury's adopted home in Key West, Fla. Most of the sea poems, many of which appear in the first of the four sections, disappoint with an even perspective that is oddly unlike the shifts of tide that Brackenbury frequently celebrates. A second section moves onto dry land for a tour through Parisian museums and other predictable vacationer's experiences; a fourth offers everyday observations of the human landscape in Key West. Despite flickers of insight and the fresh images stranded in the otherwise lusterless poems in these sections, the third grouping reveals Brackenbury's native poetic sense balanced by her capacity to tease out, and fulfill, the reader's expectations. She is at her best chronicling relationships between women, whether deep or coincidental. In "Tuesday at the Baths," women paddle unselfconsciously, their nipples "crinkled like roses"; in "For My Mother, When Sick," the speaker sees her tiny invalid mother and observes: "some great structure weakens,/ the one I've spent my life in." Such satisfying and humble poems rise well above the tidy declarations and sentimentality of lesser efforts.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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