How to Love a Jamaican: Book summary and reviews of How to Love a Jamaican by Alexia Arthurs

How to Love a Jamaican

Stories

by Alexia Arthurs

How to Love a Jamaican by Alexia Arthurs X
How to Love a Jamaican by Alexia Arthurs
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  • Published in USA  Jul 2018
    256 pages
    Genre: Short Stories/Essays

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Book Summary

Alexia Arthurs emerges in this vibrant, lyrical, intimate collection as one of fiction's most dynamic and essential authors.

Tenderness and cruelty, loyalty and betrayal, ambition and regret - Alexia Arthurs navigates these tensions to extraordinary effect in her debut collection about Jamaican immigrants and their families back home. Sweeping from close-knit island communities to the streets of New York City and midwestern university towns, these eleven stories form a portrait of a nation, a people, and a way of life.

In "Light-Skinned Girls and Kelly Rowlands," an NYU student befriends a fellow Jamaican whose privileged West Coast upbringing has blinded her to the hard realities of race. In "Mash Up Love," a twin's chance sighting of his estranged brother - the prodigal son of the family - stirs up unresolved feelings of resentment. In "Bad Behavior," a couple leave their wild teenage daughter with her grandmother in Jamaica, hoping the old ways will straighten her out. In "Mermaid River," a Jamaican teenage boy is reunited with his mother in New York after eight years apart. In "The Ghost of Jia Yi," a recently murdered student haunts a despairing Jamaican athlete recruited to an Iowa college. And in "Shirley from a Small Place," a world-famous pop star retreats to her mother's big new house in Jamaica, which still holds the power to restore something vital.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Arthurs shoehorns in reoccurring faces sporadically to create a shared universe, yet only some of it sparks with life. Nonetheless, there are enough hits to make up for the misses." - Publishers Weekly

"Stylistically reminiscent of Toni Morrison's Paradise, this successful debut will appeal to readers of literary and Caribbean fiction." - Library Journal

"A lovely collection of stories that rewards subsequent readings." - Kirkus

"Jamaican realities contemplated through many engaged and interesting eyes." - Booklist

"Arthurs's debut collection of short stories is an impressive, fully realized work that grapples with Jamaican womanhood. ... Arthurs offers a compassionate response with these tender portraits of hard women, lost girls, and the people who love them." - The Village Voice

"In vibrant, evocative prose, Arthurs brings these characters, and their varied experiences of a shared home, to life." - BuzzFeed

"Alexia Arthurs is a writer of beauty, wit, and precision; these stories will grab you by the heart. This is a boss collection." - NoViolet Bulawayo, author of We Need New Names

"In these kaleidoscopic stories of Jamaica and its diaspora we hear many voices at once: some cultivated, some simple, some wickedly funny, some deeply melancholic. All of them shine." - Zadie Smith

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Author Information

Alexia Arthurs

Alexia Arthurs was born and raised in Jamaica and moved with her family to Brooklyn when she was twelve. A graduate of Hunter College and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she has been published in Granta, The Sewanee Review, Small Axe, Virginia Quarterly Review, Vice, and The Paris Review, which awarded her the Plimpton Prize in 2017.

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