Thursday, June 09, 2022

Top ten novels about things that go wrong on islands

Rebecca Rukeyser is the recipient of the inaugural Berlin Senate grant for non-German literature. Her fiction has appeared in such publications as ZYZZYVA, The Massachusetts Review, and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. She earned her M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and teaches fiction writing at Bard College Berlin.

Rukeyser's new novel is The Seaplane on Final Approach.

At the Guardian she tagged ten books that "might be termed 'beach reads,' although they may make you reconsider ever spending time on a beach again." One title on the list:
The Autobiography of My Mother by Jamaica Kincaid (1996)

Xuela Claudette Richardson is a woman whose ferocious intelligence is ground into a sharp, observational blade during
her troubled upbringing. An African-Caribbean girl growing up on Dominica with a deceased mother and an often absent father, Xuela is all alone as she contends with the racism of her schoolteacher, the murderous jealousy of her stepmother, the sexual abuse of her foster father and resulting pregnancy. Once she reaches adulthood, Xuela rages against everything she can’t escape by choosing relentless self-sufficiency. Kincaid is always brilliant, but this lyrical book might be her most eviscerating.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue