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Our top 20 Caribbean books for Christmas 2016!

Enjoy this top twenty selection of new and favourite books, all with perfect gift potential: Thrillers, literary fiction, cookery, magical realism, poetry, and lots more...

Fiction

Some of today’s finest and most exciting writing is being produced by Caribbean writers who are exposing a Caribbean world far removed from the idea of holidays, sun, sea and sand. Jacob Ross is right there with his first crime novel. “The Bone Readers is a page-turner, but is equally a novel of impressive depth and acuity.” The Guardian. With a fast-moving narrative, richly observed characters and a powerful evocation of place (and a stack of 5* reviews on Amazon), The Bone Readers artfully delivers for the Caribbean what Ian Rankin does for Scotland. It's the first in Jacob's Camaho Quartet of novels, so that's a few birthdays sorted too!  Order Now  £7.99

The Marvellous Equations of the Dread, the latest novel from Marcia Douglas, offers a world of magical possibility despite being set at the worst of times in recent Jamaican history.  Bob Marley has just died, the Emperor Haile Selassie has been brutally murdered, the armed gangs of Kingston are at war and the murder rate soars. Packed with the stories of both the living and the dead, Marcia Douglas still manages to celebrate the endurance and wondrous creative humanity of Jamaica's people. Order Now £8.99

The Whale House is the must-have for those who want to discover the Caribbean's best new writers. Characters thread their way through different stories, some Gothic, some politically barbed, but what ties the collection together is Sharon Millar’s distinctively personal voice: cool, unsentimental and empathetic. Tiphanie Yanique said  “This book made me catch my breath. It made me shake my head and sigh. The characters barb and the language sings.” The title story won the Commonwealth short story prize and the collection was shortlisted for the Bocas prize for Caribbean fiction. Beautiful, unsettling stuff.  Order Now £5.39

Tracing Ja Ja, Anthony Kellman's third novel, is a richly imaginative historical work set in Barbados in the late 19th century. It tells the warmly human story of the emerging love between Jaja (a real historical figure) an ailing African king sent into exile by the British, and his Barbadian servant Becka. It is written with subtle psychological insights into a relationship that crosses ages and cultures, Jaja's memories of his homeland, and a poet’s perception of the natural beauties of his own island that in part soften the anguish of exile.  Order Now £6.99

Always on the lookout for what's new? New Worlds Old Ways fits that bill! Publishers Weekly gave this book a starred review, remarking “The Caribbean has a powerful, modern tradition of fantastic literature that’s on full display in this anthology of original fiction by writers from Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, and Bermuda. Some stories are science fiction and some fantasy, but all are firmly rooted in the rich folk tradition of the islands. [...] Readers who love the writing of Nalo Hopkinson, Tobias S. Buckell, and Lord herself will savor this volume.”  Edited by Karen Lord (yes, she of Galaxy Game fame) this book features stories by Tammi-Browne Bannister, Summer Edward, Portia Subran, Brandon O’Brien, Kevin Jared Hosein, Richard B. Lynch, Elizabeth J. Jones, Damion Wilson, Brian Franklin, Ararimeh Aiyejina and H.K. Williams.  Order Now £8.99

the repenters

In The Repenters Kevin Jared Hosein takes us on a young man's perilous journey to places in Trinidad we sincerely hope readers will not have been before and will never encounter except in fiction, the mean streets of an unhinged, dystopic postcolonial society. This engrossing and distinctively Caribbean bildungsroman is poetic, gothic,  troubling and impossible to forget. You have been warned. Order Now £8.99

Caribbean Modern Classics

We launched the Caribbean Modern Classics series in 2009, with the idea of rescuing books from the 1950s to 60s – the dates have got a bit elastic, but you know what we mean – really important books that still speak today. Each of these new editions features an essay by an expert, but as we aren't fans of jargon or academic droning on, they are really good reads too. You can browse the whole list here

New Day by V.S. Reid, first published in 1949, is a poetic vision of the making of Jamaica as a nation, and pretty much the definition of a classic novel.  Set in 1944, New Day makes connections between the abortive and savagely repressed Morant Bay rebellion of 1865 and the attempts to find a new political direction in the postwar years of nationalist struggle. Above all, it is a hymn to the beauties of the Jamaican landscape, its fauna and flora, and the resilience of its people. Order Now

My Bones and My Flute, Edgar Mittelholzer's ghost story ‘written in the old fashioned manner’, still chills over sixty years after it was first published. It is the Caribbean novel readers still remember from their teens, but beyond the gripping story there's a lot going on, beautifully highlighted in Professor Ken Ramchand's illuminating introduction. Don't have nightmares... Order Now

First published in 1976, Wages Paid is a short but powerful novel set in a single day on a sugar plantation in Jamaica during the time of slavery. Remarkable for its form – brief, separate paragraphs that build up the tensions of the events in this “huis clos” world – and for what it has to say about gender, power and the construction of masculinity in the context of slavery, this edition features a scholarly introduction by Professor Thomas Glave. Order Now

Victor D. Questel established himself as one of the finest new Caribbean poets in the 1970s publishing three collections. He died aged 33, and who knows how his work would have developed. Collected Poems includes Victor Questel's fine poems first published in Score (with Anson Gonzalez), Near Mourning Ground and Hard Stares, and also a beautiful extended essay by the eminent Caribbean critic, Gordon Rohlehr, "These Collapsing Times": Remembering Q. Order Now

In a narrative that is both deeply political and poetic, Water with Berries continues Lamming's fascination with Shakespeare's The Tempest as a template for exploring the mixture of intimacy, thwarted love and hatred at the heart of the colonial relationship. This powerful study of the impossibility of disentangling British and Caribbean lives, the unacknowledged power of history, the nature of misogyny, and the conflict between the calls of art and revolution is complemented by J Dillon Brown's scholarly introduction and shows just why George Lamming has been recognised as one of Caribbean writing’s most original figures. Order Now

 

Poetry

Kumina Queen is the much-anticipated debut from poet Monica Minott. In the words of Mervyn Morris, “This is an impressive book.” Written with wit and in a language range  from patwa to standard, these poems explore experiences that were both local and cosmopolitan and themes of African Jamaican cultural inheritance, family and female figures in life, history and legend (including Nanny and River Mumma).  A new poet to watch! Order Now £8.99

Speak from Here to ThereDuring 2015 and 2016, two poets from opposite sides of the world, Kwame Dawes, from Jamaica and America, and John Kinsella, from Australia, exchanged poems in two cycles. Charting an unpredictable journey towards friendship, one senses how each is hungry to hear from the other and to then treat the revelations that arrive as triggers for his own lyric introspection –  risky, complex, formally considered and beautiful. Engaging with politics, ecology and writing, Speak from Here to There reminds us of how poetry can offer comfort and solace, and how it can ignite the peculiar creative frenzy that enriches us. Order Now £9.99

Colin Robinson’s long-awaited debut collection, You Have You Father Hard Head, represents a nuanced but unswerving engagement with desire and intimacy as he explores what it means to be a Trinidadian son negotiating the complexities of erotic relationships between men. Robinson’s verse, which is acutely aware of the troubled history of race, politics and identity in Caribbean and American society, is taut, ironic, and richly evocative of various landscapes and cultures that have shaped him over the years. Order Now £8.99

Wife by Tiphanie Yanique won both the Bocas Prize for Poetry, and the Felix Dennis Award for best first collection, so you can tell it's pretty special. The Forward judges called it  “...a generous and witty book, an agile exploration of the many relationships within marriage. She has written a delightful exploration of the tensions and complexity of matrimony, in language that’s deceptively simple.” Order Now £5.39

Maya Chowdhry's Inscribe chapbook, Fossil explores the impact of human activity on climate change though a post-colonial lens and from the perspective of all life on earth including plants, creatures, inanimate objects and the elements they are composed from. Vahni Capildeo comments: “The language of these poems is unbearably beautiful and would be so for the sake of its sounds, even to a listener who did not understand it. It is also intelligent, equally at ease with the language of science and the deceptive, descriptive simplicity of riddles.”  Read more £7.99

Essays & more

the gymnast and other positions cover imageWinner of the 2016 OCM Bocas Prize for Non Fiction, The Gymnast and Other Positions is a wonderful mix of poetry, stories, essays and interviews by Jacqueline Bishop, that should appeal to anyone with a creative bone in their body! Beginning with the promptings of the erotic title story, Jacqueline Bishop came to see that only the hybrid format of this book, with its mix of genres, could begin to encompass her desire to see where she had arrived at in a creative career that encompassed being published as a novelist, poet, critic and exhibited as an artist. Order Now £7.79

kei miller writing down the visionWe defy anyone not to enjoy Kei Miller's thoughtful, witty and frequently hilarious essays. Writing Down the Vision: Essays & Prophecies is an eclectic and entertaining mix born from the conviction that telling stories is the most powerful means to revelation. With topics including migration, family, tourism, dub poetry, homophobia, writing rituals, violence and social and economic injustice, it will go down a storm with Kei's legions of fans, and probably win him a few more! Order Now

Take My Word for It is a beautifully and frankly written record of a significant Jamaican life. Professor Mervyn Morris writes: 'Ralph Thompson’s luminous autobiography is a fascinating portrait. A witty businessman and poet who studied in the United States and served as an Air Force lawyer in Japan, he writes vividly about family and his Jamaican formation, changes in racial climate, vicissitudes in business and public service; about painting, poetry, love and betrayals. Critical and self-critical, he is a man of conscience trying to understand.' Order Now

Any cooks in the house? Sounds like time for a Cook-up in a Trini KitchenPacked full of over 150 mouthwatering (and easy!) recipes, anecdotes, stories and watercolour paintings, this book is a real feast, and will delight not only for those who enjoy good food and cooking, but also lovers of fine art, poetry and story-telling. Order Now

 

Last posting dates for Christmas delivery

UK

Tuesday 20 December    2nd Class
Wednesday 21 December    1st Class

Overseas

Saturday 3 December    Africa, Middle East
Wednesday 7 December    Cyprus, Asia, Far East (including Japan), Eastern Europe (except Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia)
Thursday 8 December    Caribbean, Central & South America
Saturday 10 December    Greece, Australia, New Zealand
Wednesday 14 December    Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Poland
Thursday 15 December    Canada, Finland, Sweden, USA
Friday 16 December    Austria, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland
Saturday 17 December    Belgium, France, Ireland, Luxembourg

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