June is officially known as Read Caribbean Month, a time when book lovers worldwide share their love for Caribbean literature and exchange fantastic recommendations. As an avid reader of Caribbean books myself, I would love to share some of my top picks with you all.
In no particular order;
Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn
This was my introduction to Caribbean literature, and I absolutely loved it. The authenticity and culture seep through every page. The novel follows the character’s journey from Jamaica to New York, and it explores quite a few themes. By the end of the book, you feel connected to the characters. Nicole Dennis-Benn is a wonderful storyteller, and I highly recommend her books.
Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson
I read this book last year, and it was one of my favourite books in 2022. Black Cake is a stunning debut novel, and the author does a fantastic job of weaving a multigenerational tale with themes of family, relationships, love, secrets, and loss.
These Ghosts are family by Maisy Card
It is obvious I love a good multigenerational story & I read this at the peak of COVID. These ghosts are family feature a multigenerational tale that spans decades. The novel begins in 2005 with Abel Paisley, now known as Stanford Solomon, attempting to reveal a secret he has kept hidden for about 30 years. In a desperate move, he took on the identity of a deceased colleague and fled Jamaica, abandoning his wife and two children, who believed he was dead. While it takes some time for the story to pick up, once it does, it is absolutely amazing. Maisy Card is a talented storyteller, and the narrator of the audiobook, Karl O’Brian Williams adds to the beauty of the novel.
Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn
I had a hard time trying to decide if I enjoyed this more than Patsy but then quickly realized I didn’t need to put two bad b**ches up against each other. I read Patsy first so my expectations were off the roof and she delivered. Here Comes the Sun is such an authentic and raw exploration of the life of a young woman in Jamaica. It started off slow but I was so glad I did not give up.
The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey
If you need a quick unrealistic yet lovely book to get absorbed in, this is for you. I loved it as an audiobook. It’s about a mermaid who was found by a local fisherman in a fictional town, Black Conch. He takes her into his house and she turns into a real human woman. It alternates between both their POVs and journal entries. We got to know Aycayia, the mermaid before she became one. The themes explored in this book were love, family, sexuality, colonialism & fatherhood.
To get more recommendations, I’d suggest you follow the #ReadCaribbean hashtag on Instagram. There are so many Caribbean Bookstagrammers sharing great recommendations. I’ll be following but I already have some amazing Caribbean novels on my shelf that I’m hoping to read this month which I will be sharing in my next post.