From Imfe who is taken into slavery from Africa, Zero and Quamina who live under slavery but never submit to being slaves, Bam and Jane who live to see Emancipation but discover that they have been given little but the freedom to starve, Tom and Louise who endure the injustices of the colonial years, to Rocky who takes part in the popular uprisings for freedom and democracy in the 1930s, Nor the Battle to the Strong is an unrivalled portrayal of the lives of five generations of a family in Barbados.
Nor the Battle to the Strong is a powerful and imaginative work of grief and hope whose universality is pointed to in the title's reference to Ecclesiastes: 'The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, for time and chance happeneth to them all.' It takes the reader through horrors as elemental as those of the Greek tragedy, through the dark humour of those who endured generations of human injustice, and all that flood, drought, hurricane and disease could inflict, to arrive at a hard-won but liberating vision of the human capacity for freedom, love and forgiveness. Jackson sings a redemption song which transports the reader out of darkness into light.
Carl Jackson was born in Barbados where he lives and works. He is the author of East Wind in Paradise, a political thriller.