Sunday, January 31, 2021

Jamaica: How to Love a Jamaican, by Alexia Arthurs

This is a debut collection of short stories by Alexia Arthurs, who was born and raised in Jamaica and mvoed to Brooklyn, New York with her family when she was twelve. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. In the first couple of stories, I believed that it would be a collection focused on young female characters who, like the author, were Jamaican migrants to the United States. But by the end of the collection, I realised that the author's range is quite a bit more than that. Her narrators are young and female, young and male, older and female, older and male. Some are those who have emigrated, some are those who have remained behind in Jamaica, and some have emigrated and then returned. The tensions between the generations, the older and the younger, are perfectly depicted - both the love and the exasperation and misunderstandings. The book like the meals described, is spiced with Jamaican flavours. I enjoyed it more and more as I read on. I look forward to seeing what the author might come up with next and am hoping for a full length novel. How to Love a Jamaican was published in the US by Ballantine Books and in the UK in 2018 by Pan Macmillan.

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