So as usual, as much as I wanted to …. I did not celebrate Independence Day on 6th August. I live in London and most of the events for Independence day are mainly nightclub type events … no thank you, (I’m not really into the nightclub scene unless it’s a dirty Drum and Bass/ electro night).
But as I’ve recently started a Booktube channel I thought it would be great fun to have a Jamaican themed month especially as there has been a few new releases by Jamaican authors. I may even have a tropical cocktail whilst filming 😀
This month I picked up Marlon Jame’s – ‘John Crow’s Devil’. Kei Miller’s ‘ The Same Earth’ Kei Miller- ‘Augustown’, and Nicole Dennis- Benn’s ‘Here Comes The Sun’. I decided to read the latter 2 as they were fairly buzzing new releases!
1. The Same Earth – Kei Miller
Synopsis: When Imelda Richardson leaves the small village of Watersgate, Jamaica, armed only with one small suitcase, she is doing so for the second time. One of the throng of young Jamaicans who left the island after the devastating hurricane of 1974, Imelda’s journey has taken her to England, to the home of ganja-growing rebel Purletta Johnson, the arms of fake Northerner Ozzie, and a law degree. But when her mother dies Imelda returns to Watersgate, choosing Jamaica over England. 1983 is still a couple of years shy of the great dancehall explosion in which artists like Shabba Ranks would sing how he “loved punany bad,” and the village is still dominated by the Evangelical church and the thundering voice of Pastor Braithwaite. When Tessa Walcott’s panties are stolen—and in the absence of Perry Mason—she and Imelda decide to set up a Neighborhood Watch. But they haven’t counted on Pastor Braithwaite and the crusading zeal of Evangelist Millie. As a Pentecostal fervor sweeps through the village, the tensions between old and new come to a head.
2. John Crow’s Devil – Marlon James
Synopsis: Set in James’s native Jamaica, this dynamic, vernacular debut sings of the fierce battle between two flawed preachers. In 1957, the village of Gibbeah is a dusty remnant of the plantation era, halfheartedly ministered to by drunken Pastor Hector Bligh, aka the Rum Preacher. On a day beginning with a bad omen—black vultures, locally called John Crows, crash through the church windows—a man calling himself Apostle York “set[s] pon Pastor Bligh like when you beat a mangy dog” and takes over his church. Bligh takes refuge in the home of another village outcast, while York’s commanding presence whips Gibbeah into a frenzy of repentance. Lucinda, long reviled as the town slut, sets her sights on salvation and the Apostle, while Clarence, with whom she had a dalliance, becomes one of “The Five,” a group of young men eager to enforce York’s decrees against sin. It isn’t long before group cohesion becomes mob mentality, and punishments grow increasingly brutal and public. Bligh returns to the fray, and the resulting confrontations set the village on a path to destruction. With gruesome and sometimes gratuitous descriptions of sex and gore, this isn’t a tale for the faint of heart, but those eager for fire-and-brimstone lyricism will find this an exciting read. (Publisher’s Weekly)
3. Here Comes The Sun – Nicole Dennis – Benn
Synopsis: At an opulent resort in Montego Bay, Margot hustles to send her younger sister, Thandi, to school. Taught as a girl to trade her sexuality for survival, Margot is ruthlessly determined to shield Thandi from the same fate. When plans for a new hotel threaten their village, Margot sees not only an opportunity for her own financial independence but also perhaps a chance to admit a shocking secret: her forbidden love for another woman. As they face the impending destruction of their community, each woman—fighting to balance the burdens she shoulders with the freedom she craves—must confront long-hidden scars.
4. Augustown – Kei Miller
Synopsis: Ma Taffy may be blind but she sees everything. So when her great-nephew Kaia comes home from school in tears, what she senses sends a deep fear running through her. While they wait for his mama to come home from work, Ma Taffy recalls the story of the flying preacherman and a great thing that did not happen. A poor suburban sprawl in the Jamaican heartland, Augustown is a place where many things that should happen don’t, and plenty of things that shouldn’t happen do. For the story of Kaia leads back to another momentous day in Jamaican history, the birth of the Rastafari and the desire for a better life.
I was very impressed with the two I read and will be doing 2 separate reviews very soon both on my blog and on Youtube 🙂 I can’t wait 🙂
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