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Here’s the set-up:
The pain and passion in this freewheeling text is so palpable that it is hard to regard it as fiction. It reads like a memoir, a record of hurts and darkly humorous short stories woven together with diary entries and line drawings, redolent with clever raunchiness and with language that rivals a text by Anthony Winkler.
(It is) a brilliant and often innovative offering that falls less in the realm of the West Indian tradition and more in the way of American postmodernist black humour, reminiscent of the work of Kurt Vonnegut in Slaughterhouse Five. Ezekel Alan has constructed a masterpiece of searing memories of his childhood in “that hateful f-ing place” in order to come to terms with them, heal himself, and honour those of the poor and victimised – the “disposable people”.
Ezekel Alan writes with an intensity that astonishes. This is a rousing text, full of energy and venom, and tells multiple stories of ‘disposable people” while building an understanding of the lot of Jamaica’s poorer children.
Alan is brilliant in his analysis of Kenny Lovelace’s relationship with his father and in the stories of abuse that most of the children suffered at the hands of the village men. His novel is a wail of agony wrapped in spritely prose, deepened with irony and a bitter humour. It reads fast and packed with surprise and horror. This is no admiring chronicle of the values of the God-fearing Jamaican peasant but a searing account of the exigencies of poverty and superstition in a demanding environment.
It is a magnificent piece of work, combining different modes of storytelling including poetry, letters, journal writing, and sketched images, and covering a plethora of issues, including attitudes to homosexuality.
Alan has done a bang-up job of presenting the memories of the boy he once was and the collective memories of the village he came from.
His coming to terms with these memories in a brilliantly innovative text is our gain and his salvation.
- Mary Hanna, Bookends Review, the Jamaica Observer newspaper (Read the full review here: bit.ly/z7RUV8)
and now … Today’s Kindle Daily Deal!
In Ingrid Law’s Newbery Honor Book, the Beaumont family has, for generations, harbored a magical secret, a special supernatural power that strikes when they turn 13… and now it’s the eve of Mibs’s big day.