Top Ten – Contemporary Caribbean

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010. It is what all that suggests, top ten lists for bookish folks.

The August 15th 2017 Top Ten is ‘Ten book recommendations for ______________: (Skies the limit here…examples: for Hufflepuffs, for fans of Game of Thrones, for people who don’t normally read YA, for animal lovers, for video game lovers, etc.’

Having recently pulled some book recs for an interview with the African Book Addict blog, I decided to whittle that list in to my Top Ten Tuesday, a Top Ten for people  interested in easing in to Contemporary Caribbean Fiction. Is this a definitive top 10 of contemporary Caribbean fiction? Of course not! But it’s my top ten on this day and that’s all we need. So here goes:

1.The Farming of Bones by Edwidge Danticat – This Haitian American writer is one of my all-time favourites and this is my favourite book of hers, so far. It’s technically historical fiction as it deals with a brutal chapter in the not so distant past between the two countries which share the island of Hispaniola – Haiti and the Dominican Republic, a drama still playing out in some ways to this day.

2. Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid – I just finished reading this Antigua-born, US-based writer’s latest (See Now Then) and I liked that as well; but Lucy, the story of a young island girl acclimatizing to life in the US, is still, not necessarily my favourite as that changes, with Annie John also asserting itself, but it’s up there.

3. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz180px-junot_wao_cover – a Dominican boy/young man coming of age in the US and the dangerous ways his worlds intersect.

4. Fear of Stones by Kei Miller Kei– an earlier career short story collection from one of the main Caribbean literary voices of this generation. Looking forward to reading his newest novel, Augustown.

5. Gone to Drift by Diana McCaulaypapillote_-_gone_to_drift – a coming of age mystery adventure with a very sympathetic protagonist and a very relevant theme, and, at the same time, a relatively easy read.

6. The Book of Night Woman by Marlon James – not as easy, not as contemporary, but very compelling. I haven’t read this author’s Man Booker prize winning History of Seven Killings yet, but after this tale of life and death on a Jamaica plantation, when sugar was king and Blacks were enslaved, it is very firmly on my to-read list.

7. Waiting in Vain by Colin Channer – like romance? Give this one a go. Steamy.

8. White Woman on the Green Bicycle by Monique Roffeygreenbicycle – a tragicomical tale of one expat woman’s efforts to acclimatize to life in the Caribbean, to understand and inhabit it, over several decades.

9. Buxton Spice by Oonya Kempadoo – It’s been a minute since I read this one but I remember I hadn’t read anything quite like it when I did – technically in the coming of age sub-genre but touching on sexual awakening (and other types of awakenings) and such taboos in a bold way.

10. Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean is a good introductory read – new voices, a range and sometimes twisted (i.e. not your palm trees and blue seas) view of the contemporary Caribbean.

You’re welcome to check out my  Blogger on Books series where I’ve reviewed some of these books here and on my other blog (just use the search feature); crowd sourced Caribbean favourites – classic and contemporary; and, of course, my own (as in I wrote them) contemporary Caribbean reads.


14 thoughts on “Top Ten – Contemporary Caribbean

  1. Very interesting choices! I have to say I unfortunately have not read any real Caribbean fiction. The closest I’ve gotten was Blacksouls by Nicole Castroman, which takes place in the Caribbean at some point. But it’s historical.
    Great post! 🙂

    • I’m not familiar with Blacksouls. I’ll have to check it out. I’m a Caribbean writer myself and the well is deep (as a reader, I’m still discovering a lot of Caribbean lit myself). Happy to share some of my faves. Hopefully, you’ll find something you like.

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