-Caribbean Literature

Arrival of the Snake-Woman

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The Toronto author Olive Senior's Jamaican birthplace provides the setting for these powerfully engaging stories that span a period of roughly 150 years, from the closing days of slavery in 1838 to the 1980s. The tensions wrought by rapid change and conflicting loyalties are at the heart of these stories, most beautifully evoked in the novella "Arrival of the Snake-Woman". Here a young boy narrates the seminal event of his childhood in the late nineteenth century: the coming of a lonely Indian indentured woman into a mountain village. Senior's stories are leavened with wit and humour and the intricate play with language; her characters emerge as triumphant examples of the human spirit unravelling the complex weave of race, class, and cultural and ethnic identity.

First Canadian Edition

"Arrival of the Snake-Woman contains some of Olive Senior's masterpieces. A new edition is a caus for celebration." - H Nigel Thomas, from the Afterword

"Arrival of the Snake-Woman has consilidated (Olive Senior's) reputation as one of the most accomplished writers of short fiction and as one of the Caribbeans finest creative minds." - Caribbean Week

ISBN/SKU: 
1894770536
Publication Date: 
2009-10-15

At the Full and Change of the Moon

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Written with lyrical fire in a chorus of vividly rendered voices, Dionne Brand's second novel is an epic of the African diaspora across the globe. It begins in 1824 on Trinidad, where Marie-Ursule, queen of a secret slave society called the Sans Peur Regiment, plots a mass suicide. The end of the Sans Puer is also the beginning of a new world, for Marie-Ursule cannot kill her young daughter, Bola -- who escapes to live free and bear a dynasty of descendants who spill out across the Caribbean, North America, and Europe. Haunted by a legacy of passion and oppression, the children of Bola pass through two world wars and into the confusion, estrangement, and violence of the late twentieth century.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780802137234
Publication Date: 
2000-08-01
Author: 
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Brown Girl in the Ring

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The rich and privileged 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.

ISBN/SKU: 
0446674338
Publication Date: 
1998-07-01

Butterfly in the Wind

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From early in her life, Kamla is surprised by a contrary inner voice which frequently gainsays the wisdom of her elders and betters. But Kamla is growing up in a traditional Hindu community and attending schools in colonial Trinidad where rote learning is still the order of the day. She learns that this voice creates nothing but trouble and silences it. In this book, the voice is freed.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780948833366
Publication Date: 
2001-07-01
Author: 
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Certifiable

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Toronto writer Pamela Mordecai is a well-known voice in the poetry of the Caribbean diaspora. She has long been a popular anthologist, a mentor to other writers, a frequent contributor to literary journals, and a vital link between the literary worlds of Canada and Jamaica. Certifiable presents a maturing vision of women's lives in both of her homes. Certifiable celebrates experience shot through with affection, family attachment, and madness. The poems in the first section, "Just a Likl Loving," explore the truths hidden beneath the ideal of love: love as comfort, love as currency, love as deathtrap. "Sister Sequence" embraces the fullness of sisterhood, from the conceptual "sister muse" as a power in the world to the ambivalent love among flesh-and-blood sisters. "Certifiable," the final section, springs from intimacy with little and big madnesses. At the head of each. The rhythms and rhymes of the creole soundscape crackle through Certifiable. Mordecai's deft hand wordplay flows through and beyond standard English and the creole continuum to reveal the characters in Certifiable and record their experiences.

ISBN/SKU: 
0864922957

Dead Woman Pickney: A Memoir of Childhood in Jamaica

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"Dead Woman Pickney" chronicles life stories of growing up in Jamaica from 1943 to 1965 and contains both personal experience and history, told with stridency and humour. The author s coming of age parallels the political stages of Jamaica s moving from the richest Crown colony of Great Britain to an independent nation within the British Commonwealth of Nations.

Taking up the haunting memories of childhood, along with her astonishment at persistent racial marginalization, both locally and globally, the author sets out to construct a narrative that at once explains her own origins in the former slave society of Jamaica and traces the outsider status of Africa and its peoples. The author s quest to understand the absence of her mother and her mother s people from her life is at the heart of this narrative. The title, "Dead Woman Pickney," is in Jamaican patois, and its meaning unfolds throughout the narrative. It begins with the author s childhood question of what a mother is, followed by the realization of the vulnerability of a child without its mother s protection. The term pickney was the name for slave children on sugar plantations, and post-emancipation the term was retained for the descendants of enslaved Africans and the children of black women fathered by slavers. The author struggles through her life to discover the identity of her mother in the face of silence from her father s brutal family.

A wonderful resource for teachers of history, social studies, cultural studies, and literature, this work could be used as a starting point to discuss issues of diasporic identities, colonialism, racism, impact of slavery, and Western imperialism around the world. It is also an engaging read for those interested in memoir and life writing. "

ISBN/SKU: 
9781554581894
Publication Date: 
2010-08-01

Derek Walcott & West Indian Drama

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Written at Derek Walcott's suggestion, and based on interviews with the playwright, this is the first detailed study of a post-colonial theatre company and the problems of creating "serious" theatre in the former British colonies. The book shows how the Nobel Prize winner strove to create a world class theatre ensemble in the West Indies--a Trinidadian Brecht Berliner ensemble--and traces his life and career in West Indian theatre and the history of the Trinidad Theatre Workshop. A major contribution to West Indian history and theatre, Bruce King's study reveals the heroic will of Derek Walcott, and his determination to prove that West Indian drama was a force with which to be reckoned.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780198184645
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Dream on Monkey Mountain

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ISBN/SKU: 
0374508607

Epic of the Dispossessed: Derek Walcott's Omeros

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In Epic of the Dispossessed, Robert D. Hamner offers an insightful, well-researched analysis of Omeros, the masterful epic poem by 1992 Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott. Rich and various, Omeros is an innovative extension of the epic tradition. Despite Walcott's insistence that he violates the formula - he notes his autobiographical presence in the poem and the absence of classical heroic figures and epic battles - the poem incorporates fragments of all the definitive characteristics of the genre. Hamner establishes that through its self-reflexive textuality, Omeros complements the time-honored tradition of the epic by giving voice to the marginalized peoples of the New World. Hamner briefly explains his perception of the epic tradition and its viability in contemporary literature. He examines Walcott's writing career and traces his development of devices, themes, techniques, and a narrative style essential to epic poetry. Although Walcott could not have fully anticipated Omeros, a retrospective view of his writing reveals the consistent accumulation of the skills and broad scope required for such an undertaking. Hamner attempts also to show that Walcott has incorporated into his personal style not only the more obvious aspects of his formal education but also uniquely West Indian cultural material and forms of expression. Hamner describes Omeros as an epic of the dispossessed because each of its protagonists is a castaway in one sense or another. Regardless of whether their ancestry is traced to the classical Mediterranean, Europe, Africa, or confined to the Americas, they are transplanted individuals whose separate quests all center on the fundamental human need to strike roots in a placewhere one belongs.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780826211521
Publication Date: 
1997-08-27
Author: 
Publisher: 

Higher Ground

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In Africa, a man recounts his days within the grinding machinery of the slave trade. Though spared manacles and a hellish ocean crossing by assisting in the degrading business, he is forced finally to confront an inescapable, vicious paradox - in the eyes of both his masters and his own people, he is a pariah. In America, Rudi Williams serves life imprisonment in a Southern jail, brutalised by his guards and isolated from his fellow inmates. Through his letters he writes home to explain himself, and to educate his family in the radical politics of the emerging Black Movement, we come to know a young man whose refusal to bow to the system not only upholds the remnants of his dignity but also seals his fate. In Europe, where the wounds of war are still open, a woman finds that she cannot, after all, to escape the ghetto. For in England, as formerly in Poland, the world outside is hostile, while inside, in her heart, her life is one of stifling fear and dreadful seclusion.

ISBN/SKU: 
0679763767

In This City (Exile Classics series)

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Poignantly capturing the sorrow and torment of the dispossessed, this collection of stories focuses on the contemporary experiences of urban dwellers longing for a place to call home. Private lives and intimate pains are made public, and the rawness of the moment is redeemed by the elegance of Clarke's prose and the innate sympathy of his eye.

ISBN/SKU: 
9781550961065
Publication Date: 
2008-09-01
Author: 
Publisher: 

Jane and Louisa Will Soon Come Home

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ISBN/SKU: 
0901241377

Krik? Krak?

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When Haitians tell a story, they say "Krik?" and the eager listeners answer "Krak!" In Krik? Krak! In her second novel, Edwidge Danticat establishes herself as the latest heir to that narrative tradition with nine stories that encompass both the cruelties and the high ideals of Haitian life. They tell of women who continue loving behind prison walls and in the face of unfathomable loss; of a people who resist the brutality of their rulers through the powers of imagination. The result is a collection that outrages, saddens, and transports the reader with its sheer beauty.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780679766575
Publication Date: 
1996-04-01
Author: 
Publisher: 

Lizards Under the Roof: A Novel

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This story takes place on an island with the familiar characters, issues and sights of Caribbean life. At the centre of this world are the Weavers, a mixed-race, middle-class family, and the Mayers family, whose ancestors, the Pindars, tried to uphold tradition, only to discover that love transcends even tradition. Eve, the Weavers' house help who is from a nearby village, is a calm witness to the dramas which are unfolding between these two families drawn together by a series of strange circumstances. With the help of Alexander and Ranee, pioneers of their religious faith, everyone pulls through the difficulties they face as a result, and manages to resolve many issues, maintain family ties, preserve friendships, forge new friendships and grow spiritually into stronger, better human beings. They remind us of some of the mistakes that we have made in our lives as a result of making uninformed or wrong choices. We cannot help but read between the lines that to err is human, and to forgive, divine. 'Lizards Under the Roof' is a novel stating and proving that people from different cultures, races, religions, nationalities and social standing can live together in harmony, once the spiritual impulse brings the understanding that we have more in common than what divides us. The greatest gift of God, our soul, bestowed at conception, is what all of us share and this makes us equal. The innumerable prejudices dividing us are all man-made. God desires only that we live in unity and peace, showing forth love to all of His creation. This story involves individuals and families living and interacting on an island in the Caribbean, bringing out the changes in the way of life under the impact of history, roughly spanning a period from just before World War One to the early Nineties.

ISBN/SKU: 
9768215453
Publication Date: 
2007-02-28
Author: 
Publisher: 

Louisiana

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ISBN/SKU: 
1873201117

Lucy

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The coming-of-age story of one of Jamaica Kincaid's most admired creations--newly available in paperback

Lucy, a teenage girl from the West Indies, comes to North America to work as an au pair for Lewis and Mariah and their four children. Lewis and Mariah are a thrice-blessed couple--handsome, rich, and seemingly happy. Yet, alomst at once, Lucy begins to notice cracks in their beautiful facade. With mingled anger and compassion, Lucy scrutinizes the assumptions and verities of her employers' world and compares them with the vivid realities of her native place. Lucy has no illusions about her own past, but neither is she prepared to be deceived about where she presently is.

At the same time that Lucy is coming to terms with Lewis's and Mariah's lives, she is also unravelling the mysteries of her own sexuality. Gradually a new person unfolds: passionate, forthright, and disarmingly honest. In Lucy, Jamaica Kincaid has created a startling new character possessed with adamantine clearsightedness and ferocious integrity--a captivating heroine for our time.

ISBN/SKU: 
0374527350

Midnight Robber

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It's Carnival time and the Caribbean-colonized planet of Toussaint is celebrating with music, dance, and pageantry. Masked "Midnight Robbers" waylay revelers with brandished weapons and spellbinding words. To young Tan-Tan, the Robber Queen is simply a favorite costume to wear at the festival-until her power-corrupted father commits an unforgiveable crime.

Suddenly, both father and daughter are thrust into the brutal world of New Half-Way Tree. Here monstrous creatures from folklore are real, and the humans are violent outcasts in the wilds. Tan-Tan must reach into the heart of myth and become the Robber Queen herself. For only the Robber Queen's legendary powers can save her life . . . and set her free.

ISBN/SKU: 
0446675601
Publication Date: 
2000-03-01

More

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From Austin Clarke, the critically acclaimed author of The Polished Hoe" winner of the Giller Prize comes More, "a powerful new novel of survival in a cold and alienating world. Certain to become a classic in contemporaryworld literature, More "carries readers into thelonely life of an immigrant domestic abandoned years before by a faithless husband, her life devastated by her son s involvement in gang culture and crime and her remarkable journey from tragedy back to the light. Anunforgettable portraitof the black immigrant experience, it is a novel to be read and remembered."

ISBN/SKU: 
9780061772412
Publication Date: 
2010-11-01
Author: 
Publisher: 

Myal

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ISBN/SKU: 
0901241865

Nothing's Mat

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This story is told by a black British teenager u aeevery black girlAE u for she has no name until the very last chapters when she is teasingly called aePrincessAE by her husband. Somewhere in the 1950s Princess, London-based, is allowed to complete her 6th form final exams by writing a long paper on the aeWest Indian familyAE instead of sitting an exam. She thinks this a aegod-sendAE and that all she has to do is to interview her parents. Her father tries to help her with his side but they both find that their kin will not fit into the standard anthropological template. Her father thinks it a good time for her to go to Jamaica and meet her grandparents who can better help her with her study. Her mother thinks the change would be good for her health for she is asthmatic and it is the time of the year when London fog makes her ill. In Jamaica, much as her grandparents, middle class black Jamaicans and her parents in England, might not have liked it, Princess meets and spends time with her obscure Cousin Nothing, called Conut. She introduces her to the flora of Jamaica and in particular, to one plant which obeys certain divine principles and which is available to humans to make artifacts for their comfort. Accordingly they begin to make a mat and as they twist straw and bend it into intricate shapes, Conut tells her the family history so that their creation becomes for her a mat of anthropological template. The resulting shape presented to her teacher, earns her an aeAAE and the comment that she has managed to project the West Indian family as a fractal rather than fractured as the published literature sees it. aeEvery girlAE gets a scholarship to a London University but asks to be allowed to take it up in Jamaica. Here she completes graduate work and gets an assistant lectureship but more, she inherits an old house from Conut, from which she commutes to the university in Kingston. Under-stimulated by the academy, she chooses to continue the family study which she had done as her end of high school project and to do so by crafting the information into the mat, which mat becomes for her a shield against spiritual and physical evil. Making the mat of ancestors takes her into the history of young English men kidnapped and transported to Jamaica for illicit sexual activity, of Jamaican women launderers in Panama, of a African Jamaican/African American marriage in Panama which produces children brought up in Virginia USA, and who become aethe first Negroes toaAE; of two females who escape Governor EyreAEs violence in Morant Bay and re-settle in a aefree villageAE in St Ann. This work is not only a fictional family history but is also a comment on anthropological methodology, and African systems of thought.

ISBN/SKU: 
9789766404949
Publication Date: 
2014-11-10

Summer Lightning

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Written in vivid, colourful detail, these rich, compelling stories recreate with sensitivity and wit a whole range of emotions, from childhood hope to brooding melancholy.

ISBN/SKU: 
0582786274

The Dragon Can't Dance

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Carnival takes on social and political importance in this recognized classic. The people of the shantytown Calvary Hill, usually invisible to the rest of society, join the throng and flaunt their neighborhood personas in masquerade during Carnival. Aldrick, the dashing "king of the Hill," becomes a glorious, dancing dragon; his lovely Sylvia, a princess; Fisheye, rebel idealist, a fierce steel band contestant; and Philo, Calypso songwriter, a star. Then a business sponsors Fisheye's band, Philo gets a hit song, and Sylvia leaves the Hill with a prosperous older man. For Aldrick, it will take one more masquerade this time, involving guns and hostages before the illusion of power becomes reality."

ISBN/SKU: 
9780892552726
Publication Date: 
2003-06-16
Author: 
Publisher: 

The Enigma of Arrival

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ISBN/SKU: 
0140098860

The Fiction of Robert Antoni

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Examining the work of Robert Antoni, the Trinidadian/ Bahamian Caribbean writer, this title places his work in the multiple contexts of Caribbean storytelling, twentieth-century literature and contemporary Caribbean fiction. It explores each of his innovative and complex texts.

ISBN/SKU: 
9789766402297
Publication Date: 
2010-01-31

The House on Mango Street

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Here is Sandra Cisnero's greatly admired and best-selling novel of a young girl growing up in the Latino section of Chicago. Acclaimed by critics, beloved by children and their parents and grandparents, taught everywhere from inner-city grade schools to universities across the country, and translated all over the world, "The House on Mango Street" has entered the canon of coming-of-age classics even as it depicts a new American landscape. Sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous, "The House on Mango Street" tells the story of Esperanza Cordero, whose neighborhood is one of harsh realities and harsh beauty. Esperanza doesn't want to belong - not to her run-down neighborhood, and not to the low expectations the world has for her. Esperanza's story is that of a young girl coming into her power, and inventing for herself what she will become. "The San Francisco Chronicle" has called "The House on Mango Street" "marvelous... spare yet luminous. The subtle power of Cisnero's storytelling is evident. She communicates all the rapture and rage of growing up in a modern world." It is an extraordinary achievement that will live on for years to come.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780679734772
Publication Date: 
1991-03-31
Author: 
Publisher: 
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