[Cliff] becomes a regular visitor to the couple's house overlooking the ocean. Quickly the relationship with the young limer (slacker) becomes troublesome, spiked with fear as he becomes less predictable. Money goes missing. Their car disappears. But Cliff is as much a riddle to us as he is to Bella and [Peter], and this is the novel's weakness. In another poetic riff, [Kempadoo] shows us Cliff's inner world as he assumes the persona of the sea. We see him displaying power and confidence that he lacks in his everyday life: "I got juice. Respect. Respect I man, 'cause I is the real juice." But it is empty posturing, and he knows it. There is one scene in which the generally mild-mannered Cliff erupts with anger, knocking Bella to the floor after what appeared to be a benign confrontation. Is there some rage simmering below the surface of his inscrutable smile? In the end Cliff is too enigmatic to be a dynamic figure.
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