Saturday, January 27, 2024

Eight books on love, loss, & betrayal in the Caribbean

Donna Hemans is the author of The House of Plain Truth and two previous novels, River Woman and Tea By the Sea, which won the Lignum Vitae Una Marson Award. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in Electric Literature, Ms. Magazine, and Crab Orchard Review, among others. She is also the owner of DC Writers Room, a co-working studio for writers based in Washington, DC. Born in Jamaica, she lives in Maryland, and received her undergraduate degree in English and Media Studies from Fordham University and an MFA from American University.

[Q&A with Donna Hemans]

At Electric Lit Hemans tagged "eight Caribbean family sagas [that] portray families formed by biology or culture, proximity or shared experiences." One title on the list:
Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson

When Eleanor Bennett dies, she leaves behind a long voice recording for her children, Byron and Benny, along with a traditional black cake. Eleanor’s message describes a swimmer who escapes her island on her wedding day just after her new husband collapses and dies, and a baby born during her time in England. Estranged siblings, Byron and Benny, are both reeling with the secrets their mother has chosen to disclose only after her death, the new family stories they uncover, and their own broken relationship. The book explores how family stories can both upend and unite a family.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue