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Death Register

Written with a raw and poetic energy, the ability to make a range of characters live and breathe, and an ambitious drive to present both Chauncey the experiencer and Chauncey the writer, Dwight Thompson takes the tradition of the coming-of-age novel and makes of it something both bold and new. No one who reads Death Register will be surprised by the Jamaican government’s recent declaration of a state of emergency in Montego Bay.

£10.99

Author(s)
Dwight Thompson
ISBN
9781845234072
Pages
256
Price
£10.99
Classification
Fiction, Novels, Ebook and print
Setting
Jamaica
Date published
13 Sep 2018

Brought up by his grandparents, Chauncey Knuckle has done well for a country boy whose mother died at his birth and whose father is mostly absent. He has won a place at a prestigious college for boys in Montego Bay, and his juvenile writing has won him prizes and some praise. But at the point when he arrives at university, he can only wonder what kind of a person he has become. 

He has messed up a promising relationship with his girlfriend and discovered in himself a shameful propensity for sexual violence. He has witnessed his closest friend, Tristan, shot dead by the police and wonders about his role in Tristan’s downfall. Why did he fail to expose respected elder, Deacon Mac, for abusing Tristan when they were boys? Was he, too, infected by his school’s virulent homophobia in his attitude to his friend’s emerging gay sexuality? The novel’s picture of Jamaica is an uncomfortable one. The college Chauncey enters is an institution still infected with the hangovers of colonialism, that offers a training in elitism, misogyny and homophobia, with secret societies and ritual brothel visits that enforce a twisted morality. Chauncy discovers, too, that the boundaries between elite schooling and the criminal gang life of Montego Bay are more porous than the parents who send their boys to this school could ever imagine.  

Written with a raw and poetic energy, the ability to make a range of characters live and breathe, and an ambitious drive to present both Chauncey the experiencer and Chauncey the writer, Dwight Thompson takes the tradition of the coming-of-age novel and makes of it something both bold and new. No one who reads Death Register will be surprised by the Jamaican government’s recent declaration of a state of emergency in Montego Bay.

 

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Dwight Thompson

Dwight Thompson is a Jamaican working in Japan as an English teacher. His work has appeared in the Montego Bay Western Mirror and Caribbean Writer, where he won the Charlotte and Isidor Paiewonsky Prize. One of his stories was also short-listed for a prize in the 2012 Small Axe Literary Competition.

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