Sand for Snow: A Caribbean-Canadian Chronicle


187 pages
ISBN 0-919688-79-9
DDC C818'.5403





Reviewed by Nanette Morton

Nanette Morton teaches English at McMaster University in Hamilton.


In 1996, Montreal journalist Robert Sandiford went to live in Barbados,
the home of his new bride and the place where his parents were born.
Sand for Snow is a collection of the columns he wrote for the Nation,
the island’s leading newspaper.

As a Canadian of Bajan descent, Sandiford finds Barbados at once
strange and strikingly familiar. He has relatives there—the fruitcake
his mother made when he was a child is a Christmas specialty in
Barbados. At the same time, “as a Canadian ... I get a little
frustrated when I look out to open sea. There’s something reassuring
about being backed by plenty of land.” The author’s sojourn in
Barbados gives him the opportunity to connect with his beloved father,
an Alzheimer’s patient who no longer recognizes him. Sandiford visits
his father’s old neighbourhood and meditates on what it means to be a
good man, husband, and father.

Many weaker columns could have been left out, while others could have
benefited from expansion. Still, Sandiford’s observations on Bajan
society make for interesting reading, while his elegiac columns about
his father and his sense of being both an insider and an outsider draw
the book’s short pieces together.


Sandiford, Robert Edison., “Sand for Snow: A Caribbean-Canadian Chronicle,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 24, 2024,