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Aliens, aka Ynna arrive on the Virgin Islands peacefully. The author describes encounters of the first, third, and maybe? Some of the novel seems a little nebulous to me.

The Baby IS the Lesson

Also, the visitors are initially welcomed rather matter- of- factly because they will share great advancements in technology, science, and medicine. Peace do Turnbull begins the tale innocuously enough. Peace does not last long during the Ynn tenure on earth; there is a plethora of conflicts—most of them tense understated, though deaths occur when the Ynna, are angered and insulted. A powerful attractive female Ynna, Mera, acts as the Ambassador, whose mission is to ensure the differing life forms co-exist.


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Islanders eventually revolt because of several murdered Islanders whom they believe receive no justice, and the Ynna react with a large-scale retaliation before the Aliens depart. Turnbull appears to be writing an extended metaphor about colonization of indigenous people and the effects of that system. Only a few agnostic native characters accept the Ynna as aliens and do not really fear them, while most of the others, instilled with strong religious values, come to see them as demons and devils.

There are strong female characters, both youthful and elderly. The action is well paced for it sucked me in from the beginning. Jun 30, Dan Trefethen rated it really liked it. This is a story of colonialism, oppression, and repeated subjugation of one people over another. It's also a story of the resilience of family, both by blood and by choice.

Set entirely on the U. Virgin Islands, in the near future an alien spacecraft parks over a harbor and offers incremental updates in technology in exchange for — well, their motives are obscure.

The Lesson (2015) - Official Trailer (HD)

Their interactions with the islanders become more fraught, and any act of violence against them is met with immediate and gruesome v This is a story of colonialism, oppression, and repeated subjugation of one people over another. Their interactions with the islanders become more fraught, and any act of violence against them is met with immediate and gruesome violence in return.

The author moves the storyline frequently between characters and timelines, requiring reorientation by the reader. However, this serves to piece the story together in a mosaic, so that we often don't understand the full meaning of a scene until a later segment in the story. This lack of full understanding is reflected in the relationship between the islanders and the aliens.

The greatest subjugation and eradication occurred from European colonization, of course, but then the aliens exact another terrible price in their turn.

Check for Misconceptions

As with many good books, the reader is left to ask what is learned from all this. Is the lesson the aliens think they are teaching a valid one? Do the humans offer their own lesson that the aliens simply refuse to see because they think the humans are beneath them?

A thoughtful book about a part of U. In The Lesson , an alien race known as the Ynaa arrive to the U. Virgin Islands with the promise to exchange advanced technology for cohabitation so they may conduct "research. The Lesson is what I would call literary science fiction. Turnbull's writing is beautiful and intelligent.

The Lesson

His descriptions of the homes and roads and plants in the Virgin Islands make you feel like you've been there - and if you've never been there you will certainly want to go. I was also incredibly impressed with his ability to write complex, believable women, which is not a talent a lot of male authors possess. Turnbull does an excellent job exploring themes ranging from colonialism and the racism inherent to colonialism , the absentee "parentage" of the United States, and religious doctrine.

My only minor critique is that The Lesson has several POV characters and interweaving plot lines to keep track of, very nearly doing "too much" for a sub page debut novel. That being said, the story works in the end, and I can't think of a single thing that should have been left on the editing room floor. Jul 07, Christy Mcconville rated it it was amazing Shelves: library-audiobook.

The Lesson is a remarkable, multilayered book. There is no safety. We are all at risk. So says one of the main characters in this book—Mera. During that time she has come to care deeply for humans and to pass as one most of the time. It is only the living who suffer. Derrick is an The Lesson is a remarkable, multilayered book. Derrick is an outsider in his home, a dreamer who reads science fiction and shares it with his high school friend, Patrice.

Patrice and Derrick date but eventually she moves away for college, she returns five years after the aliens land, pregnant. She represents the majority of the island who are opposed to the aliens and their violent, repressive ways. The Lesson tells their stories and more—several others, in fact. Jun 28, Jo Ladzinski rated it it was amazing Shelves: ala , physical-copy , audiobook , library. Listened to the audiobook This isn't your everyday first contact novel. Taking place in the U. Virgin Islands, The Lesson tells the story of a community who meets an alien race called the Ynaa who quickly assimilate among them.

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Celebrate The Lesson, Not just The Mistake

Among our cast is a teacher, a pair of students, a divorcee, and other "boring" characters whose lives get turned upside by the new visitors. I loved how Turnbull handled the community's curiosity and fear about their new visitors. Though human-looking and benevolent for Listened to the audiobook This isn't your everyday first contact novel.

Though human-looking and benevolent for the most part, the Ynaa can exact terrible violence. One of my favorite sequences is told in flashbacks.

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It's used as an amazing vehicle for displaying the code switching between a variety of communities and societies and it is executed with such finesse. In addition, the way nuggets of truth are strewn throughout the novel serve as a great vehicle for grounding the story and also weaving together its many themes. I particularly connected to a bit about filling your own holes by creating them in others, and Patrice's reflection on her parents' divorce blew me away.

The book isn't long and it covers an impressive range of emotion with nuance. If you love something a bit more literary and introspective, but need that science fiction element, what are you even doing, please read this book. Jul 07, Shannon rated it really liked it Shelves: literary , scifi. Aliens, the Ynaa, arrive on earth peaceably and settle in the Virgin Islands This book reminded me of The Handmaiden's Tale or Kindred with its broader metaphors and psychological horror, but also of course, with the setting being St.

Thomas and the U. Virgin Islands, the feel is very literary and realistic with so much cultural grounding. I read this because 1. I'm always trying to read more ownvoices authors and 2. Anyway, I didn't sink into the depths of this one the way I was hoping to - it felt almost less sci-fi and more modern realism at times, but I found it endlessly odd and creepy and interesting. I really enjoyed the way that Turnbull wrote queerness and women - like 1, points there, and the reason I gave this 3 stars instead of 4.

I was so fascinated by Mira and Derek and the world of the island in general. I do wonder though if the sheer number of characters kept it from being as powerful as it could have been, though. I spent the first part of this rather confused until it all knit up. In conclusion, glad I read this, and I'd be very curious to see what Cadwell Turnbull writes next. Jun 06, Carina Gonzalez rated it it was amazing.

It is also thirst-quenching to hear from people of color about people of color, especially in the speculative fiction community. Through The Lesson we hear the cadence and spirit of the VI natives while the story touches on issues of racism, classism, and gender roles. The Lesson combines the ambiance of Rosewater by Tade Thompson with the eerie dread of The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey while tensions mount between the humans and the Ynaa.