In for a treat
Some of my favorite works of literature are those written by Caribbean authors. If you haven’t already read these then you’re for several treats.
As a child of two Jamaican immigrants , the storytelling style of Caribbean authors for me is very relatable. They evoke so many feelings; some nostalgic and warm, others encourage a melancholic thoughtfulness. They inspire a deeper connection to my Caribbean roots. So to help you stay connected to your roots, near or far from home I’ve compiled a list of 10 must read books by Caribbean authors.
“Til’ The Well Runs Dry” by Lauren Francis- Sharma (Trinidad)
Lauren Francis-Sharma makes a phenomenal literary debut in this amazing read! A tale of bittersweet love, “suss”, “mixup”, & “scandal. telling the fictional saga of Marcia & Farouk set in 1940’s- 1960’s Trinidad. I could not put this book down! Francis-Sharma’s writing style created such vivid imagery. I was able to see and feel connected to the characters and everything she described. It touched me deeply, and at certain points in the book i was brought to tears.
Get ‘Til the Well Runs Dry.
“The Polished Hoe” by Austin Clarke (Barbados)
A suspense filled crime story told in the voice of its main character Mary-Mathilda. Set on a post-slavery colonial plantation on the island of Barbados known at the time as the British Colony of Bimshire. A murder mystery that had me asking myself the question, who is the criminal & who is the victim? Although a fiction, this story forced me to imagines d by saddened the horrors experienced by black Caribbean women during the colonial era.
Get “The Polished Hoe“
“The Star Side of Bird Hill” by Naomi Jackson (Barbados)
A stunning debut for Naomi Jackson and familiar story that many Caribbean immigrants to NYC & their children can relate to. Jackson tells the story of two sisters ages 10 and 16 whose mother suddenly sends them from their home in Brooklyn to Bird Hill, Barbados indefinitely in
the summer of 1989. You’ve heard the stories of barrel children – children left on the island when their parents emigrate. Here’s a story if the reverse, American children sent back home.
“Land of Love and Drowning” by Tiphanie Yanique (St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands)
Sort of like a book of dark family secrets and familiar taboos that chronicles the fictional history of the Bradshaw women over a 60 year span starting in the early 1900’s U.S. Virgin Islands.
“The Book of Night Women” by Marlon James (Jamaica)
A beautifully written dark & mystical story of Lilith, born a slave on a Jamaican sugar plantation at the end of the eighteenth century. It tells a tale about the strength & importance of women, the cruelty of slavery, and revolt. I always love the way Marlon James spins historical events into his fictional works, he ignites my imagination and creates a familiarity in stories I’ve never heard!
Get “The Book of Night Women“
“A Brief History of Seven Killings” Marlon James (Jamaica)
Another amazing suspense-filled fictional story by James that those who know anything about Jamaica’s history & political climate in the 1960’s through the 1980’s will find eerily, but not coincidentally familiar.
“Krik? Krak!” by Edwidge Danticat (Haiti)
“Iron Balloons: Hit Fiction from Jamaica’s Calabash Writer’s Workshop” Edited by Colin Channer (Various writers from the Caribbean)
A collaborative narrative of joyous, painful, and sorrowful truths told by some of Jamaica’s brightest literary stars. This book made me laugh, cry and deeply contemplate the universal themes addressed these stories.
“Pepper Pot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean” Edited by Peekash Press (Various writers from the Caribbean)
A colorful collection of new stories by lesser known Caribbean writers, written in a tone & dialects seemingly intended solely for the Caribbean reader. Pepperpot showcases the diverse flavors unique to us, like soup for the Caribbean soul filled with familiar yet new folk tales and universal themes meant inspire deeper thought and reflection.
“Claire Of the Sea Light” Edwidge Danticat (Haiti)
Although fictional, this story creates a vivid & whimsical picture of what life might be like in a small village In Haiti. Claire Limyè Lanmè (Claire of the Sea Light) , a girl living in a small seaside Haitian village. Her sudden disappearance unearths dark secrets, truths, and painful memories affecting the lives of the people in the community of Ville Rose that search for her.
Get “Claire of the Sea Light”
Nothing like a good book
There’s nothing like the feeling after reading a great book. Hope one or all these books get added to your list of favorites.
If your favorite didn’t make the list, drop a line and let us know what should get added. Or if you’re looking for more books by Caribbean Authors check out previous reviews: