How to love a Jamaican

* I received a galley of this short story collection from Netgalley in exchange for a honest review.

** Then I loved it so much, I got a hard back copy at Greenlight PLG.

For the most part, most of us aren’t reading enough short stories! I know whenever I read one that captives me, I’m running out and reading whatever that author has written.

Alexis Arthurs has written a short story collection that observes with compassion, patience, hilarity and a sharp eye how Jamaicans move in the world, both on the island and off. We see Grandmas selling ware by the river and a young girl in Iowa dealing with the fear and horror that arise when someone you know is murdered. We see the very Jamaican name Glenroy and the very Jamaican nickname Ugly.

All this adds to stories that show how connected we are to the idea of home and how time and distance cannot erase all memory, all ties to the family that love and frustrate us, that whether we barely finish elementary school or have our PHD’s Jamaican humor and intelligence are always present.

Being a Jamaican outside of Jamaica isn’t a simple, straightforward immigration story because being Jamaican isn’t simple. Within Jamaican and no matter where we travel, Jamaicans are complicated: filled with longings and desires we cannot understand, histories hidden from us, and traditions we may observe but no longer serve us.

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