In a moving novel that charts the fortunes of three generations of a Chinese family in the Caribbean, Jan Shinebourne explores the power of family myth, the seductiveness of invented traditions, and the way unconscious motivations seeded in painful childhood experience can resurface in adult life. For Joan Wong, growing up in a Chinese family in the political turmoil of 1960s Guyana, family history is never straightforward. There are the examples of her grandmothers – Clarice Chung, ironwilled matriarch who has ensured the family’s survival through unremitting toil, with her pride in maintaining racial and cultural identity, and Susan Leo, whose failures have shamed the family, who found comfort from harsh poverty in relationships with two Indian men and adopting an Indian lifestyle. Later, when Joan Wong makes her own pilgrimage to ancestral China at the turn of the twentyfirst century, there are surprises in store.
“In The Last Ship, in spare, simple, yet poignant writing, strongly reminiscent of her third novel, Chinese Women, Shinebourne continues her inspired exorcism of demons from a troubled, Guyanese-Chinese past!”