Review: Once We Were There by Bernice Chauly


By Bernice Chauly

Publisher: Epigram Books, too many pages

Let’s get straight to the point: Bernice Chauly’s debut novel, Once We Were There, does not work, for me.

Reasons why it doesn’t work:

The protagonist’s name

I still can’t get over it and I wonder why the author chose to saddle her character with such a silly, pretentious and distracting name. However, Delonix Regia (I kid you not) is the Latin name of the flame of the forest tree, and as the plant is also known as royal poinciana, I guess Del (as she wisely chooses to call herself) could have fared worse. (P.S. Del also gives her daughter a Latin plant name, and so, the cycle of abuse continues.)

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