In the novel The Cay, a young white boy and an old black man are stranded on a small sandy cay in the Caribbean Sea following a shipwreck. Eleven-year-old Phillip was blinded by flying debris when a torpedo struck the SS Hato, and old Timothy has taught him how to survive. This prequel-sequel tells the rest of their tale in alternating chapters--the compelling story of two very different people who share the courage and tenacity to turn their dreams into reality. Includes a reader's guide.
`` `Tis a beautiful cay, dis cay,' Timothy had said. He was right.'' So says Phillip Enright after his first actual view of the islet on which, in The Cay , he was stranded with the old black sailor Timothy, who taught him to survive. Phillip's return to the isolated spot marks the culmination of a journey both physical and spiritual. In alternating chapters Taylor recounts the events following the blinded 12-year-old's rescue from the remote island, and chronicles Timothy's history as well. In the tradition of its predecessor, this ``prequel/sequel'' explores social and racial imbalances and draws a graceful parallel between Timothy's youthful struggle to achieve an unheard-of dream--the captaincy of his own boat--and Philip's courage in choosing to undergo a risky operation to restore his vision. At times, the author seems to apologize for Timothy's illiteracy, his stubbornness and his belief in the spirits called jumbis , which seems unnecessary, given the character's obvious dignity and deep-rooted wisdom. Somewhat more thoughtful than its well-loved antecedent, this boldly drawn novel is no less commanding. Ages 10-14.