Grandpa has terrible memories of the Kingston earthquake of 1907, so when his grandchildren report feeling tremors in the ground, he is worried and refuses to speak about his fears.
Andrew Salkey
ISBN number
Caribbean Modern Classics
Country setting
Publication date
01 Jun 2011

Ricky Thomas, brother Doug and sister Polly spend their summer holidays in the coffee walk surrounding their grandparents’ country home in Dallas, Jamaica. There they play games of ‘Three on a Desert Island’.

It’s a sunbaking day in July. Above the children the leaves of the mango and coffee trees are drying, the thin asphalt becoming syrupy beneath their feet, the atmosphere electric with the sun’s heat.

But while Ricky scouts for an observation platform for his imaginary island, the children feel it. They feel the earth itself move beneath them. Is it part of their vivid imaginations—or is it the sign of a coming earthquake?

Not least of Earthquake's charms is its sympathetic portrayal of Marcus, the Rasta from West Kingston who stops by Dallas to bring his prophetic vision. Whilst not the first Rastafarian in fiction, Marcus is undoubtedly the first in children's fiction.



Praise for the original 1960s series:

‘Strongly recommended.’ —The School Librarian

‘ . . . a cleverly constructed story of mounting tension . . . ’ —Junior Bookshelf

‘This is a fine story, a worthy successor to Hurricane . . . ’ —British Book News

Andrew salkey in June 1992

Andrew Salkey

Andrew Salkey was born in Colon, Panama in 1928 of Jamaican parents. He was brought up in Jamaica by his mother and grandparents, his father remaining in Panama, but supporting the family financially. Salkey did not meet his father until 1960, and his work returns to the theme of mothers and sons frequently. He was educated at Munro College in Jamaica, left to attend the University of London in 1952, where he did a BA in English. He taught in school and worked as a broadcaster for the BBC on the Caribbean Voices programme. He was deeply involved in the Caribbean Artists Movement. He left the UK in 1976 when he relocated to Hampshire College in Amherst. He died in 1995.
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