On our journeys far & wide we love to imbibe something of where we are staying through our choice of holiday reading. Literature that provides a contemporary cultural insight for example, a tale of today perhaps that shows the impact of an oft-troubled past, or possibly describes the overcoming by an individual of terrain & climate, these help us to relax and switch off and break from those ingrained patterns of daily routine whilst gaining an understanding of the topography & sociology of our environs.
We thought visitors to Jamaica may like a couple of recommendations on books that we think may do just the same, particularly for our guests at Hotel Mocking Bird Hill.
Dog-Heart, Diana McCaulay
Dog Heart tells the story of the well-meaning attempts of a middle-class single mother to transform the life of a boy from the ghetto who she meets on the streets of Kingston. Set in present-day, urban Jamaica, the novel tells the story from two alternating perspectives – the single mother and the boy – as they struggle to understand & accommodate each other’s world views. While involving the reader in an absorbing narrative, Dog-Heart engages with issues of race & class, the complexities of relationships between people of very different backgrounds, and explores the difficulties faced by individuals seeking to bring about social change by their own actions.
Diana McCaulay is a Jamaican writer and environmental activist. She has lived her entire life in Jamaica and engaged in a range of occupations – secretary, insurance executive, racetrack steward, mid-life student, newspaper columnist, social commentator, environmental advocate, accomplished public speaker, and most recently, filmmaker. Her short fiction has been published in the journal Caribbean Writer and her debut novel Dog-Heart has won two national awards. View on Amazon
The Village Curtain, Tony Tame
The Village Curtain is a collection of fictional stories, sketches and imaginary characters set in the coastal communities of Jamaica. The pieces gradually and gently introduce a range of “types” which populate these sea front places. The characters drift in and out of the narrative as the time line progresses, giving increasingly greater insights as to their survival techniques and their personalities. The book sets out to expose the contradictions existing between what appears to be an idyllic and picturesque life and the actual struggle which these folks must wage on a daily basis and why their very culture has made them suspicious of intrusion from outside (especially official intrusion). Throughout this assembly of semi-independent short stories the weather is a major element. It circumscribes almost everything that takes place on or near the ocean. People who try to make their living from the land or the sea will glance at the sky twenty times a day to read the signs which will guide them in this work. Every farmer, hunter and fisherman is an amateur meteorologist and the smell of the salt spray at daybreak and rage of the hurricane are bound into the book as much as the tranquil sound of a quiet, rainy night.
Born in 1943, Tony Tame has been associated with the marine industry in Jamaica since the mid 1960’s. After 1970 he became directly involved in the supply and service of equipment to the commercial fishing industry in Jamaica. His lifelong interest has been the methods used in various types of fishing and the people who work in this field. Still active in this field his fascination with these topics is undiminished. He lives in Kingston, Jamaica with his devoted wife of thirty-nine years, Jennifer. Jennifer is Tony’s business manager. They have two children, a son Sean who helps to run the family owned company and a daughter Stephanie who is a senior lecturer in the Linguistics Department of the University of Geneva, Switzerland. View on Amazon