Nation e-Edition

Louis Lynch’s daughter turns writer

THE BOOK by Angela  Lynch-Clare (right)  has “everything  in it, including  the kitchen sink”. (GP)

Sun, March 24, 2013 - 12:01 AM

“My father would have been proud of me.”

Angela Lynch-Clare speaks with tenderness, deep affection and respect for her late father Louis Lynch, one of Barbados’ most highly respected educators and public figures of the second half of the 20th century.

“He was always interested in the education of poor children and that motivated him to seek to open doors for them,” added the woman whose father was the founder of the Modern High School, Mayor of Bridgetown during the last stages of local government in Barbados, and represented the City of Bridgetown in the House of Assembly. He also had a secondary school named after him.

“He encouraged my interest in psychology and gave me a strong desire for academics and people,” added Lynch-Clare, author of an interesting and delightful new book, White Chocolate, a satire on race and class in Westchester County, one of New York State’s most affluent areas.

“My father was a fascinating person who gave his children and those of Barbadians of all walks of life, especially the less fortunate in the country, the guidance and motivation they needed to succeed.”

Were he alive today, Lynch would have smiles all over his face when he read his daughter’s work of fiction because of her use of language, the insightful presentation of life for an upper middle-class family, and the mix of emotions and activities covered in the book’s 368 pages.

Add Bajan dialect to the mix and it would become clear why he would have such strong and positive feelings about his progeny’s writing.

White Chocolate is a story about Charlie, a successful West Indian entrepreneur in New York, who is stuck in the middle of an affluent community and a “morally bankrupt” social group filled with family tensions that can be traced to the activities of a philandering husband and a vulnerable daughter.

The main character is a well educated woman who was raised in Harlem in a West Indian household and has intense interest in the classics.

Indeed, the book is filled with emotion, women’s professional success, romance, sex, class hatred, and the challenges traceable to women earning more than their husbands.

“It has everythingin it, including the kitchen sink,” the writer said.

“In the book I look at things that excite women and try to show a multidimensional approach to life and interests: food, wine and the desire to be loved, mother-daughter relationships.”

But there would have been another reason for Lynch’s pride in his daughter, a graduate of the University of the West Indies in Jamaica. It’s the author’s professional interest and the clinical yet understanding way she discusses the subject of sex and its effects on people and institutions everywhere.

Lynch-Clare, whose Bahamian husband is a physician, is a highly trained sex therapist with a Master’s degree in psychology. In her professional practice she used to advise couples, not individuals, who were having problems in the bedroom.

“My mother was a bit embarrassed when I told her that I was a sex therapist,” she recalled.

“I offered advice to couples, pure and simple. I was not a sex surrogate. I counselled heterosexual couples, people who were gay or who were simply not enjoying sex anymore for a variety of reasons, some of them psychological or physiological.”

Lynch-Clare ended her professional therapy practice more than a dozen years ago. The mother of two daughters, one of whom was a chess prodigy and the other a psychologist, has written several short stories and is working on another book entitled Dancing Naked On The Altar.

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