Monday, 5 November 2018

#WorldReads - Five Books From Jamaica

If this is your first visit to my WorldReads blog series, the idea of the posts is to encourage and promote the reading of global literature. On the 5th of each month I highlight five books I have read from a particular country and you can see links to previous countries' posts at the end of this post as well as finding out how to join in the challenge.

Click the book titles or cover images to visit their Literary Flits book review pages. Or click the bookshop names to buy your own copy. (Bookshop links are affiliate links so I would earn a small commission from your purchase.)

This month we are going to Jamaica!
Enjoy!

A Brief History Of Seven Killings by Marlon James

The Book Depository
Wordery
Waterstones
Amazon US / Amazon UK

On 3 December 1976, just weeks before the general election and two days before Bob Marley was to play the Smile Jamaica Concert to ease political tensions, seven gunmen from West Kingston stormed his house with machine guns blazing. Marley survived and went on to perform at the free concert, but the next day he left the country, and didn’t return for two years. Not a lot was recorded about the fate of the seven gunmen, but much has been said, whispered and sung about in the streets of West Kingston, with information surfacing at odd times, only to sink into rumour and misinformation.

Inspired by this near-mythic event, A Brief History of Seven Killings takes the form of an imagined oral biography, told by ghosts, witnesses, killers, members of parliament, drug dealers, conmen, beauty queens, FBI and CIA agents, reporters, journalists, and even Keith Richards' drug dealer. Marlon James’s bold undertaking traverses strange landscapes and shady characters, as motivations are examined — and questions asked — in this compelling novel of monumental scope and ambition.


Murder In Montego Bay by Paula Lennon

The Book Depository
Wordery
Waterstones
Amazon US / Amazon UK

In Montego Bay, Jamaica, privileged Chinese-Jamaican brothers Lester and Carter Chin Ellis have enjoyed a sheltered life as the heirs to the iced desserts empire Chinchillerz. One fateful night, following a fiery encounter with local law enforcement the brothers are taken to Pelican Walk Police Station, where Lester is detained for drunk driving, while Carter is released without charge. When Carter is shot dead within minutes of leaving the station his murder throws the police force into crisis mode.

Discredited Detective Raythan Preddy is put in charge of the murder case and is forced to accept the assistance of Detective Sean Harris, a Scottish lawman seconded to Jamaica. With his superiors watching his every move and the Chin Ellis family interfering with the investigation, Preddy is determined to catch the killer and save his career.


Sketcher by Roland Watson-Grant

The Book Depository
Wordery
Waterstones
Amazon US / Amazon UK

Nine-year-old “Skid” Beaumont’s family is stuck in the mud. Following his father’s decision to relocate and build a new home, based on a drunken vision that New Orleans would rapidly expand eastwards into the wetlands as a result of the Seventies oil boom, Skid and his brothers grow up in a swampy area of Louisiana. But the constructions stop short, the dream fizzles out, and the Beaumonts find themselves sinking in a soggy corner of 1980s Cold War America.

As things on the home front get more complicated, Skid learns of his mother’s alleged magic powers and vaguely remembers some eerie stories surrounding his elder brother Frico. These, as well as early events that Skid saw with his own eyes, convince him that Frico has a gift to fix things by simply sketching them. For the next few years, Skid’s self-appointed mission to convince his brother to join him in his lofty plan to change their family’s luck and the world they live in will lead to even more mystery and high drama in the swamp.

Atmospheric, uplifting and deeply moving, Sketcher – Roland Watson-Grant’s stunning debut – is a novel about the beauty of life no matter how broken it is.


How To Love A Jamaican by Alexia Arthurs

The Book Depository
Wordery
Waterstones
Amazon

Tenderness and cruelty, loyalty and betrayal, ambition and regret – Alexia Arthurs navigates these tensions to extraordinary effect in her debut collection of short stories, How to Love a Jamaican, about Jamaican immigrants and their families back home. Sweeping from close-knit island communities to the streets of New York City and Midwestern university towns, these eleven stories form a portrait of a nation, a people, and a way of life.

In ‘Light Skinned Girls and Kelly Rowlands’, an NYU student befriends a fellow Jamaican whose privileged West Coast upbringing has blinded her to the hard realities of race. In ‘Mash Up Love’, a twin’s chance sighting of his estranged brother – the prodigal son of the family – stirs up unresolved feelings of resentment. In ‘Bad Behavior’, a mother and father leave their wild teenage daughter with her grandmother in Jamaica, hoping the old ways will straighten her out. In ‘Mermaid River’, a Jamaican teenage boy is reunited with his mother in New York after eight years apart. In ‘The Ghost of Jia Yi’, a recently murdered international student haunts a despairing Jamaican athlete recruited to an Iowa college. And in ‘Shirley from a Small Place’, a world-famous pop star retreats to her mother’s big new house in Jamaica, which still holds the power to restore something vital.

The winner of the Paris Review’s Plimpton Prize for ‘Bad Behavior’, Alexia Arthurs emerges in this vibrant, lyrical, intimate collection as one of fiction’s most dynamic and essential young authors.


Brown Girl In The Ring by Nalo Hopkinson

The Book Depository
Wordery
Waterstones (unavailable)
Amazon US / Amazon UK

The rich and have fled the city, barricaded it behind roadblocks, and left it to crumble. The inner city has had to rediscover old ways--farming, barter, herb lore. But now the monied need a harvest of bodies, and so they prey upon the helpless of the streets. With nowhere to turn, a young woman must open herself to ancient truths, eternal powers, and the tragic mystery surrounding her mother and grandmother. She must bargain with gods, and give birth to new legends.


That's it for November's WorldReads from Jamaica. I hope I have tempted you to try reading a book from this country and if you want more suggestions, click through to see all my Literary Flits reviews of Jamaican-authored books! If you fancy buying any of the five I have suggested, clicking through the links from this blog to do so would mean I earn a small commission payment.

You can join in my WorldReads Challenge at any time! Simply read 1 or more books from a different country each month, write a post about it/them, grab the button below and add it to your post. Don't forget to pop back here and Comment your link so I can visit!




Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML


If you missed any earlier WorldReads posts, I have already 'visited' America, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, India, Iraq, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Russia, Scotland, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and Zimbabwe.

In December I will be highlighting five books by Swiss authors. See you on the 5th to find out which ones!

10 comments:

  1. I'd never heard of that Bob Marley shooting so that was pretty shocking! It's amazing that he survived it!

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    1. I knew nothing about it either until this book

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  2. I considered reading Seven Killings after it won the Booker, but a lot of reviewers were saying that reading it is a slog. One of my favorite reviewers DNFed it. It kind of fell off my radar after that. I should probably give it a try someday. I don’t think I’ve ever read a Jamaican book.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. If you like slow overly complicated bricks then give A Brief History a go ;-)
      Personally, I'd recommend Brown Girl In The Ring!!

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  3. Those stories sound good. I hadn't heard of these before now.

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    1. Brown Girl In The Ring is absolutely my favourite :-)

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  4. Other than one or two short-stories and some poems, I've just realised I haven't read anything written by Jamaican authors and this gave me pause. I must check them out. Thanks for the recommendations, Stephanie.

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    1. Who was the Jamaican poet? I've not read any Jamaican poetry yet!

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  5. I think I didn't read a book about Jamaica so far but now I want exactly to do this. Therefore, thanks a lot for your book tips!
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena
    www.dressedwithsoul.com

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    Replies
    1. I hope you found a good book!
      I would love to visit Jamaica one day too :-)

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