My last reading update was August 23rd and at that time I was up to page 120 of the just over 200 pages of Ruby’s Dream by Ronan Matthew. I did a Reading Journal (and Sunday Post) just a day earlier in which I mentioned other books in progress (The Mermaid of Black Conch, New Daughters of Africa, Windrush, Americanah, and Soucouyant). Since then, I’ve finished Ruby’s Dream.
This is the author of Ruby’s Dream, Ronan Matthew, left, with the author of another of my books in progress Gayle Gonsalves, My Stories have No Endings at a book event earlier this year outside The Best of Books bookstore.
It was at this event that the author, Matthew, gave me a copy of his book. This was in June which makes it one of my quicker reads of the year. That’s right I’m finished and I have posted a review.
“One of the interesting dynamics of books of this type as well is the social history built in to the personal history – in this case largely 1960s and 1970s but with call backs to earlier times in the lives of working people and the emergent middle class on a not-yet-independent island in the English speaking Caribbean. For me, some of the more interesting bits were the social history of the Ovals area where the boys played and observed the adults around them, and near the end when he delved more in to his family history and in so doing the history of race, class, privilege, and movement of people in the former slave colonies. This could have been explored more but …”
It is mixed but I liked the book more than not.
Any other reading progress?
Fireburn by Apple Gidley – I haven’t mentioned this historical fiction since the July 26th reading update; I was at page 97 then. It’s still slow going (I’ve been reading this one for a long while) I’m up to page 100. I don’t know, it’s not like I’m not interested in this post-slavery plantation set narrative …it’s just slow going and it’s not entirely the book’s fault.
Revista Prometo – This is the commemorative publication of the Medellin World Poetry Festival in which I am included and which I received as a participant; nothing really to report yet as I’ve barely started. Read the excerpt of my poems here.
Dangerous Freedom by Lawrence Scott – This is the fictionalization of the life of Dido Belle from this famous painting.
Dido is the Black woman to the left of the painting – actually she’s biracial as her father was a white aristocrat, a member of the Royal Navy, and her mother an enslaved African in the West Indies, and she was raised in England with her uncle, Lord Mansfield (actually William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield) – a famous justice, whose ruling in the Somerset case in 1772 and the case of the Zong massacre in 1781 were milestones on the road to the abolition of the British Empire Atlantic Slave Trade. That’s Dido’s cousin in the painting. Dido’s story is imagined in Amma Asante’s Belle (2013) starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw and imagined again in Dangerous Freedom (2021) by Trinidad-born, UK-based writer Lawrence Scott.
I am quite interested in the subject matter, so I’m eager to really get in to this. I’m only up to page 11 so far though. (and I may have started over which happens when it takes you so long to get back to a book you lose your place).
No excuses; life is happening. So, that’s all she wrote.
Well, I also did some writing on the CREATIVE SPACE column. Check that out too while you’re here and check out the transcription of my latest interview a twitter live conversation with UK writer Madeline Dyer at #BookPartyChat. And this interview with Diaspora Kids Lit, also in the UK:
This post is linked up with the Caffeinated Reviewer’s latest Sunday Post. Be sure to check that out as well.