2020 is the year that gave us really great Caribbean releases. From Historical Fiction, YA, Magical Realism, Essays, Collections to Adult Fiction, there is a Read Caribbean release to match your many moods.
If you are looking for books recently published by Caribbean authors or Authors of Caribbean heritage, this list can help! Here are 21 Books which will be released in 2020 from Caribbean Authors!
An Autobiography of the Autobiography of Reading by Dionne Brand
Blurb From Goodreads: Internationally acclaimed poet and novelist Dionne Brand reflects on her early reading of colonial literature and how it makes Black being inanimate. She explores her encounters with colonial, imperialist, and racist tropes; the ways that practices of reading and writing are shaped by those narrative structures; and the challenges of writing a narrative of Black life that attends to its own expression and its own consciousness
The Black Cathedral by Marcial Gala translated by Anna Kushner
Blurb from Goodreads: The Stuart family moves to a marginal neighborhood of Cienfuegos, a city on the southern coast of Cuba. Arturo Stuart, a charismatic, visionary preacher, discovers soon after arriving that God has given him a mission: to build a temple that surpasses any before seen in Cuba, and to make of Cienfuegos a new Jerusalem.
In a neighborhood that roils with passions and conflicts, at the foot of a cathedral that rises higher day by day, there grows a generation marked by violence, cruelty, and extreme selfishness. This generation will carry these traits beyond the borders of the neighborhood, the city, and the country, unable to escape the shadow of the unfinished cathedral.
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Polar Vortex by Shani Mootoo
Goodreads blurb: Priya and Alexandra have moved from the city to a picturesque countryside town. What Alex doesn’t know is that in moving, Priya is running from her past—from a fraught relationship with an old friend, Prakash, who pursued her for many years, both online and off. Time has passed, however, and Priya, confident that her ties to Prakash have been successfully severed, decides it’s once more safe to establish an online presence. In no time, Prakash discovers Priya online and contacts her. Impulsively, inexplicably, Priya invites him to visit her and Alex in the country, without ever having come clean with Alex about their relationship— or its tumultuous end. Prakash’s sudden arrival at their home reveals cracks in Priya and Alex’s relationship and brings into question Priya’s true intentions.
These Ghosts Are Family by Maisy Card
These Ghosts Are Family is Maisy Card’s debut novel that features a multi-generational narration from 1700s to 2000s.
These Ghosts Are Family opens with the revelation of Stanford Solomon’s three decade long secret- he is not who he says he is. Thirty years ago, Stanford Solomon, who is actually Abel Paisley assumed the identity of his best friend, Solomon who died during a work accident. Abel who was working in England at the time used the death of his friend as an opportunity to assume a new identity and sever the relationship he had with his wife and children back home in Jamaica. With age and knowing he doesn’t have long to life Abel reaches out to the daughter he left back in Jamaica. Irene Paisley, a home health aide shows up to attend to a man who turns out to be the father she’s mourned all her life.
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The Mermaid of Black Conch: A Love Story by Monique Roffey
Goodreads Blurb: April 1976: St Constance, a tiny Caribbean village on the island of Black Conch, at the start of the rainy season. A fisherman sings to himself in his pirogue, waiting for a catch—but attracts a sea-dweller he doesn’t expect.
Aycayia, a beautiful young woman cursed by jealous wives to live as a mermaid, has been swimming the Caribbean Sea for centuries. And she is entranced by this man David and his song.
Rainbow Milk by Paul Mendez
Goodreads Blurbs: Rainbow Milk is an intersectional coming-of-age story, following nineteen-year-old Jesse McCarthy as he grapples with his racial and sexual identities against the backdrop of a Jehovah’s Witness upbringing and the legacies of the Windrush generation.
In the Black Country in the 1950s, ex-boxer Norman Alonso is a determined and humble Jamaican who has moved to Britain with his wife to secure a brighter future for themselves and their children. Blighted with unexpected illness and racism, Norman and his family are resilient in the face of such hostilities, but are all too aware that they will need more than just hope to survive.
Love After Love by Ingrid Persad
After Betty Ramdin’s husband dies, she invites a colleague, Mr. Chetan, to move in with her and her son, Solo. Over time, the three become a family, loving each other deeply and depending upon one another. Then, one fateful night, Solo overhears Betty confiding in Mr. Chetan and learns a secret that plunges him into torment.
Solo flees Trinidad for New York to carve out a lonely existence as an undocumented immigrant, and Mr. Chetan remains the singular thread holding mother and son together. But soon, Mr. Chetan’s own burdensome secret is revealed, with heartbreaking consequences. Love After Love interrogates love and family in all its myriad meanings and forms, asking how we might exchange an illusory love for one that is truly fulfilling.
The Belle Créole by Maryse Condé translated by Nicole Simek (released in PaperbackGoodreads Blurb: Possessing one of the most vital voices in international letters, Maryse Condé added to an already acclaimed career the New Academy Prize in Literature in 2018. The twelfth novel by this celebrated author revolves around an enigmatic crime and the young man at its center. Dieudonné Sabrina, a gardener, aged twenty-two and black, is accused of murdering his employer–and lover–Loraine, a wealthy white woman descended from plantation owners. His only refuge is a sailboat, La Belle Créole, a relic of times gone by. Condé follows Dieudonné’s desperate wanderings through the city of Port-Mahault the night of his acquittal, the narrative unfolding through a series of multivoiced flashbacks set against a forbidding backdrop of social disintegration and tumultuous labor strikes in turn-of-the-twenty-first-century Guadeloupe. Twenty-four hours later, Dieudonné’s fate becomes suggestively intertwined with that of the French island itself, though the future of both remains uncertain in the end.
The Mother’s House by Francesca Momplaisir
The story of My Mother’s House opens with a house in New York City South Ozone Park committing suicide by burning itself down (yes, you read right). We hear from the House the reason it decided to burn itself down and why this drastic measure needed to be taken. The story continues and we hear from the House as it gives us the history of the community, how it was gentrified, and an intimate look into the lives of the persons who lives/lived inside them. The House tells us of the horrors that happened under it’s roof and why it decided its best to burn itself to the ground.
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
Goodreads Blurb: Felix Love has never been in love—and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many—Black, queer, and transgender—to ever get his own happily-ever-after.
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The Book of Small Axe by Lauren Francis-Sharma
Starting in the late 1700s The Book of Small Axe spans over 33 years and goes between the present 1830 and the past 1796. Starting in Trinidad and Tobago and ending in Montana, Rosa Rendon is the glue who holds this story together.
Rosa is the youngest in the Rendon family living in Trinidad and Tobago, they are free black land and animal owners doing well for themselves. Rosa works closely with her father in the field assisting with the raising of the horses and all the farm work. By all intents, the Rendon family is living in the lap of luxury, that is until Trinidad & Tobago’s ownership switches from Spanish to British rule. Under the British rule, the Rendon family is subjected to land taxes, because they are black, they are not allowed to own land and other assets, their freedom is slowly dwindling.
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
Goodreads Blurb: In this novel in verse, Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people… In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.
Separated by distance—and Papi’s secrets—the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other
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Home Home by Lisa Allen-Agostini (Delacorte did a new edition for it)
Goodreads Blurb: Moving from Trinidad to Canada wasn’t her idea. But after being hospitalized for depression, her mother sees it as the only option. Now, living with an estranged aunt she barely remembers and dealing with her “troubles” in a foreign country, she feels more lost than ever.
Everything in Canada is cold and confusing. No one says hello, no one walks anywhere, and bus trips are never-ending and loud. She just wants to be home home, in Trinidad, where her only friend is going to school and Sunday church service like she used to do.
But this new home also brings unexpected surprises: the chance at a family that loves unconditionally, the possibility of new friends, and the promise of a hopeful future. Though she doesn’t see it yet, Canada is a place where she
can feel at home–if she can only find the courage to be honest with herself.
The Wondrous and Tragic Life of Ivan and Ivana by Maryse Condé translated by Richard Philcox
Goodreads Blurb: Born in Guadeloupe, Ivan and Ivana are twins with a bond so strong they become afraid of their feelings for one another. When their mother sends them off to live with their father in Mali they begin to grow apart, until, as young adults in Paris, Ivana’s youthful altruism compels her to join the police academy, while Ivan, stunted by early experiences of rejection and exploitation, walks the path of radicalization. The twins, unable to live either with or without each other, become perpetrator and victim in a wave of violent attacks. In The Wondrous and Tragic Life of Ivan and Ivana, Maryse Condé, winner of the 2018 Alternative Nobel prize in literature, touches upon major contemporary issues such as racism, terrorism, political corruption, economic inequality, globalization, and migration. With her most modern novel to date, this master storyteller offers an impressive picture of a colorful yet turbulent 21st century.
Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn (released in Paperback)
We meet Patsy, a twenty something Jamaican living in Pennyfield- what one would call a ghetto. Patsy is a government worker, but gets paid so little, she ends up doing some on the side work that is she not too proud about. Patsy is the sole breadwinner, but she is hardly able to provide for her daughter Tru and her mother who stopped working after finding the Lord because “the Lord will provide”. Of course, Patsy now have to pick up the slack that the Lord doesn’t fill.
By all intents Patsy’s life is HARD. It just seems like she cannot catch a break. This all changes when Patsy receives the American visa she’s been applying for. Patsy, like most/some Jamaicans think going to America will change their lives for the better so she grabs the opportunity to leave the island.
Tea by the Sea by Dione Hemans
Tea By The Sea is Donna Hemans sophomore novel about grief, abandonment and agency.
The story opens up in Jamaica, we meet a young man, Lenworth and a new born baby girl looking for a specific house in remote town outside of the second city- Montego Bay. He concocts a story about the baby’s mother, finds someone to help with raising the baby, he gets a job in carpentry at a high school nearby and begins building a life for him and the child.
A seven-year-old mother, Plum Valentine wakes up after giving birth, requests to hold her child and is told the father is currently with the child, she should rest. The mother insists on seeing her child and the nurse sounds an alarm and that is when they realize the child was taken from the hospital without the mother’s consent or knowledge. Plum spends over ten years searching for her daughter, numerous trips back to Jamaica, having a private investigator, numerous leads but nothing comes to fruition.
One bright New York day as Plum is playing with her twin girls she comes up on a newspaper clipping with the face of the man she’s been looking for over twenty years. Plum needs to figure out her next move, how does she approach the man who took her daughter from her and disappeared out of her life?
The Lesson by Cadwell Turnbull (released in Paperback)
Set on the U.S. Virgin Islands, we meet the members of the community of Charlotte Amalie-like most Islanders, they are pretty laid back, but all living complicated lives. Things get even more complicated when one day the sky opens up and an alien ship docks close to the island. The five hundred Ynaa came in “peace” and with advance technology to offer for their five year stay on the island. The Ynaa’s message to the people of the U.S. Virgin Islands is that they are looking for “something”, they needed time to “research” and “they would leave the planet as they found it”. Yes, the Ynnas were very vague but their ask seemed reasonable at the time.
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Take A Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
Goodreads Blurb: Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown, and an occasional roll in the hay to relieve all that career-driven tension. But romance? Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. Romantic partners, whatever their gender, are a distraction at best and a drain at worst. So Dani asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits—someone who knows the score and knows their way around the bedroom.
Suddenly, the easy lay Dani dreamed of is more complex than her thesis. Has her wish backfired? Is her focus being tested? Or is the universe just waiting for her to take a hint?
The Taste of Sugar by Marisel Vera
Goodreads Blurb: It is 1898, and groups of starving Puerto Ricans, los hambrientos, roam the parched countryside and dusty towns begging for food. Under the yoke of Spanish oppression, the Caribbean island is forced to prepare to wage war with the United States. Up in the mountainous coffee region of Utuado, Vicente Vega and Valentina Sanchez labor to keep their small farm from the creditors. When the Spanish-American War and the great San Ciriaco Hurricane of 1899 bring devastating upheaval, the young couple is lured, along with thousands of other puertorriqueños, to the sugar plantations of Hawaii—another US territory—where they are confronted by the hollowness of America’s promises of prosperity. Writing in the tradition of great Latin American storytelling, Marisel Vera’s The Taste of Sugar is an unforgettable novel of love and endurance, and a timeless portrait of the reasons we leave home.
One Year of Ugly by Caroline Mackenzie
In One Year of Ugly we meet the Palacio family, who are originally from Venezuela but fled the country to start a new life in the twin island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. The entire Palacio family settles somewhat comfortably into life in Trinidad and for the most part is trying to carve out a new life for themselves. Their semblance of security is shattered when the self-appointed head of the family, Aunt Celia dies, and they learn the ugly truth. The family finds out that Aunt Celia lied about the legality of their immigration documents and they have all been living in Trinidad and Tobago illegally. Added to this, Aunt Celia owes a lot of money to local criminal called Ugly which is now passed on to them. Ugly lets the Palacios family knows in no uncertain terms that they are at his will and in order to pay off their debts they will have to do what he requires or else…. –
Facing the Sun Janice Lynn Mather
Goodreads Blurb: Change is coming to Pinder Street…
Eve is the rock in her family of seven, the one they always depend on. But when her dad is diagnosed with cancer, she wants nothing more than to trade her worries for some red lipstick and a carefree night.
Faith is the dancer all the boys want, but she only has eyes for the one she can’t have. Only thing is, all the flirting in the world can’t distract her from her broken home life…or the secrets that she hides.
KeeKee is the poet who won’t follow the rules, not even to please her estranged father. But after a horrible betrayal, she’ll have to choose between being right and losing everyone she loves.
Nia is the prisoner longing to escape her overprotective mother. A summer art program might be her ticket to freedom, yet it comes with a terrible price—and the risk may not be worth the reward.
Frying Plantain by Zalika Reid-Benta
Frying Plantain is Zalika Reid-Benta is an amazing and wonderous debut novel that you will fly through and absolutely love- I promise you!
I sat down and read Frying Plantain in one sitting, it was utterly interesting and delightful. Frying Plantain is a collection of twelve interconnected stories that follows Kara Davis from elementary school to university. Kara Davis is a Canadian by birth, both her mother and grandmother are Jamaican. We see how Kara navigate these two worlds.
*Frying Plantain will be released in the UK August 13th
Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi
Goodreads Blurb: Amal Shahid has always been an artist and a poet. But even in a diverse art school, he’s seen as disruptive and unmotivated by a biased system. Then one fateful night, an altercation in a gentrifying neighborhood escalates into tragedy. “Boys just being boys” turns out to be true only when those boys are white.
The story that I think
will be my life
Suddenly, at just sixteen years old, Amal’s bright future is upended: he is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and sent to prison. Despair and rage almost sink him until he turns to the refuge of his words, his art. This never should have been his story. But can he change it?
With spellbinding lyricism, award-winning author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam tell a moving and deeply profound story about how one boy is able to maintain his humanity and fight for the truth, in a system designed to strip him of both.
Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson
Goodreads Blub: Korey Fields is dead.
When Enchanted Jones wakes with blood on her hands and zero memory of the previous night, no one—the police and Korey’s fans included—has more questions than she does. All she really knows is that this isn’t how things are supposed to be. Korey was Enchanted’s ticket to stardom.
Enchanted is dazzled by Korey’s luxurious life but soon her dream turns into a nightmare. Behind Korey’s charm and star power hides a dark side, one that wants to control her every move, with rage and consequences. Except now he’s dead and the police are at the door. Who killed Korey Fields?
The Undiscovered Country: Essays by Andre Bagoo
Goodreads Blurb: Andre Bagoo is the real deal as an essayist in that he asks interesting questions (was there an alternative to the independence that Trinidad sought and gained in 1962?) and is open to seeing where his ideas take him – quite often to unexpected places. He displays an intense interest in the world around him – including literature, art, film, food, politics, even Snakes and Ladders – but is just as keen to share with the reader some sense of how his point of view has been constructed.
He writes as a gay man who grew up in a country that still has colonial laws against gay sexuality, as a man whose ethnic heritage was both African and Indian in a country whose politics have been stymied by its ethnic divisions. And just what were the effects of repeat-watching a defective video of The Sound of Music, truncated at a crucial moment? There is an engaging personality present here, a sharp and inquiring mind, and ample evidence that he knows how to write shapely sentences and construct well-formed essays. Encyclopedic knowledge is rarely the point of the essay, but few readers will leave this collection without feeling better informed and more curious about their worlds.
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Daylight Come by Diana McCaulay
Peepal Tree Press blurb: It is 2084. Climate change has made life on the Caribbean island of Bajacu a gruelling trial. The sun is so hot that people must sleep in the day and live and work at night. In a world of desperate scarcity, people who reach forty are expendable. Those who still survive in the cities and towns are ruled over by the brutal, fascistic Domins, and the order has gone out for another evacuation to less sea-threatened parts of the capital.
Sorrel can take no more and she persuades her mother, Bibi, that they should flee the city and head for higher ground in the interior. She has heard there are groups known as Tribals, bitter enemies of the Domins, who have found ways of surviving in the hills, but she also knows they will have to evade the packs of ferals, animals with a taste for human flesh. Not least she knows that the sun will kill them if they can’t find shelter.
Diana McCaulay takes the reader on a tense, threat-filled odyssey as mother and daughter attempt their escape. On the way, Sorrel learns much about the nature of self-sacrifice, maternal love and the dreadful moral choices that must be made in the cause of self-protection.
When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole
Goodreads Blurb: Sydney Green is Brooklyn born and raised, but her beloved neighborhood seems to change every time she blinks. Condos are sprouting like weeds, FOR SALE signs are popping up overnight, and the neighbors she’s known all her life are disappearing. To hold onto her community’s past and present, Sydney channels her frustration into a walking tour and finds an unlikely and unwanted assistant in one of the new arrivals to the block—her neighbor Theo.
But Sydney and Theo’s deep dive into history quickly becomes a dizzying descent into paranoia and fear. Their neighbors may not have moved to the suburbs after all, and the push to revitalize the community may be more deadly than advertised.
When does coincidence become conspiracy? Where do people go when gentrification pushes them out? Can Sydney and Theo trust each other—or themselves—long enough to find out before they too disappear?
Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark
Goodreads Blurb: D. W. Griffith is a sorcerer, and The Birth of a Nation is a spell that drew upon the darkest thoughts and wishes from the heart of America. Now, rising in power and prominence, the Klan has a plot to unleash Hell on Earth.
Luckily, Maryse Boudreaux has a magic sword and a head full of tales. When she’s not running bootleg whiskey through Prohibition Georgia, she’s fighting monsters she calls “Ku Kluxes.” She’s damn good at it, too. But to confront this ongoing evil, she must journey between worlds to face nightmares made flesh–and her own demons. Together with a foul-mouthed sharpshooter and a Harlem Hellfighter, Maryse sets out to save a world from the hate that would consume it.
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When Life Gives You Mangoes by Kereen Getten
PushkinPress Blurb: Nothing much happens in Sycamore, the small village where Clara lives – at least, that’s how it looks. She loves eating ripe mangoes fallen from trees, running outside in the rainy season and escaping to her secret hideout with her best friend Gaynah. There’s only one problem – she can’t remember anything that happened last summer.
When a quirky girl called Rudy arrives from England, everything starts to change. Gaynah stops acting like a best friend, while Rudy and Clara roam across the island and uncover an old family secret. As the summer reaches its peak and the island storms begin, Clara’s memory starts to return and she must finally face the truth of what happened last year.
Cannibal by Safiya Sinclair
Blurb by Goodreads: Colliding with and confronting The Tempest and postcolonial identity, the poems in Safiya Sinclair’s Cannibal explore Jamaican childhood and history, race relations in America, womanhood, otherness, and exile. She evokes a home no longer accessible and a body at times uninhabitable, often mirrored by a hybrid Eve/Caliban figure. Blooming with intense lyricism and fertile imagery, these full-blooded poems are elegant, mythic, and intricately woven. Here the female body is a dark landscape; the female body is cannibal. Sinclair shocks and delights her readers with her willingness to disorient and provoke, creating a multitextured collage of beautiful and explosive poems.
Cannibal will be out in the UK October 1.
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A Million Aunties by Alecia McKenzie
Goodreads Blurb: After a personal tragedy upends his world, American-born artist Chris travels to his mother’s homeland in the Caribbean hoping to find some peace and tranquility. He plans to spend his time painting in solitude and coming to terms with his recent loss and his fractured relationship with his father. Instead, he discovers a new extended and complicated “family,” with their own startling stories, including a love triangle. The people he meets help him to heal, even as he supports them in unexpected ways, through his art.
Told from different points of view, this is a compelling novel about unlikely love, friendship, and community, with several surprises along the way. The story takes place against the backdrop of rural Jamaica, New York City, and Paris, France.
How to Catch a Queen by Alyssa Cole
Goodreads blurb: When Shanti Mohapi weds the king of Njaza, her dream of becoming a queen finally comes true. But it’s nothing like she imagined. Shanti and her husband may share an immediate and powerful attraction, but her subjects see her as an outsider, and everything she was taught about being the perfect wife goes disastrously wrong.
By day, they lead separate lives. By night, she wears the crown, and he bows to her demands in matters of politics and passion. When turmoil erupts in their kingdom and their marriage, Shanti goes on the run, and Sanyu must learn whether he has what it takes both to lead his people and to catch his queen.