In celebration of A Brief History of Seven Killings, which I just reviewed, I’ve decided to pen this list of books you should read if you have an interest in reading books related to the wonderful Caribbean island of Jamaica.
A Brief History of Seven Killings reinvigorated my thirst for Jamaican stories, and I’ve added a ton of them to my reading list now, some of them are even on this list. If you know of any more then feel free to drop them in the comments.
Born Fi Dead
Born Fi Dead, by Laurie Gunst is a fine piece of investigative journalism. Laurie Gunst’s provocative exposé of the Jamaican politicians’ role in creating this problem is also a moving and compelling tale of suffering and exploitation.
The Book of Night Women
The Book of Night Women is another highly rated book from Marlon James. It’s based on a young woman called Lilith, who was born into slavery on a Jamaican sugar plantation at the end of the eighteenth century. Even at her birth, the Night Women – a clandestine council of fierce slaves plotting an island-wide revolt – recognize a dark force in her that they treat with both reverence and fear.
After reading A Brief History of Seven Killings, I already know that this is a book that I need to read at some point.
The Last Warner Woman
The Last Warner Woman is written by Kei Miller and it’s a story about a woman (Adamine) with the gift of ‘prophecy’. Meaning she can give warning to upcoming disasters. But this is an ability that can both protect, and terrify. The book shifts between Adamine and ‘Mr Writer Man’ who has a story of his own, about her.
The book is a great piece of Jamaican storytelling, proven by its “Forward Prize”, earned by Kei Miller in 2014.
Yardie, by Victor Headley tells the tale of D, a courier from Jamaica who moves to London. But what D is carrying to England is something that his erstwhile friends are anxious to recover. For those who are as mesmerised with the criminal / gangster culture as I am, this should be required reading if you’re looking for books relating to Jamaicans.
Yardie is also about to get a film adaptation, directed by none other than Idris Elba.
The True History of Paradise
The True History of Paradise is a heart-breaking story of island life, penned by award winning author Margaret Cezair-Thompson. Jean Landing wants to flee her homeland of Jamaica, but she has the unfortunate business of burying her sister to attend to first. After the funeral Jean begins the journey to her awaiting plane to the U.S, but throughout her journey she’ll be reminded of ghosts from her past.
“From her own mother, the light-skinned, “selfish and adamant” Monica, sister Lana, and deceased father, the black nationalist Roy Landing, to her white ancestor Rebecca Crawford, they are all here, sometimes in Jean’s memory, other times telling their stories in their own voices.”
I have yet to read this one, but from everything I’ve heard it’s a must-read.