It's the time of short days and long nights in Edmonton. Join me in an escape to tropical island settings, creole cultures and vibrant socio-political histories with these novels by Caribbean authors.
In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
A novel of political oppression based on the real lives of sisters who were martyred in 1960 during the rule of General Trujillo in the Dominican Republic.
Land of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique
A lush intergenerational epic that begins in 1917 when control of the Virgin Islands were transferred from Denmark to the USA.
The Polished Hoe by Austin Clarke
A woman's confession of murder in 1952 Bimshire (Barbados) leads to a moving exploration of the island's rich and tragic history.
The Long Song by Andrea Levy
In a wry, saucy voice that brooks no nonsense, July Goodwin tells of her life that began in slavery in the 1800s on a Jamaican sugar cane plantation. My longer review is here.
Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab by Shani Mootoo
Jonathan's search for a parent he hasn't seen since he was nine takes him from Canada to Trinidad in this moving portrayal of gender identity and the immigrant experience. My longer review is here.
Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat
A radiant portrait of a Haitian community, told in interlinked stories that center around a seven-year-old girl who disappears from her village. My longer review is here.
This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz
Yunior, the irresistible Dominican Don Juan with a foul mouth, whom Diaz introduced in his earlier books, returns in many of these dazzling stories. I previously reviewed another of Diaz's books, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.
Cuba, My Revolution by Inverna Lockpez and Dean Haspiel with Jose Villarrubia
A fictionalized memoir by a woman whose idealism at 17 gradually faded after Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba. Told in graphic novel format with blocky, surrealist artwork in shades of grey and red. My longer review is here.
A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
Winner of the Man Booker Prize, this story centers around the attempted assassination of Bob Marley. The audiobook, read by an ensemble cast, is an ideal way to experience the multiple voices and the Jamaican patois. A Brief History of Seven Killings also won the Green Carnation Prize, which is awarded to LGBT writers for any form of literature. My longer review is here.
I created this list for the Edmonton Public Library, where you can find it with live links directly to the titles in the library's catalogue.