Telling stories of ordinary lives with extraordinary skill, Pamela Mordecai draws delicately detailed portraits of life in Jamaica and other islands, with occasional trips to Canada. Her characters speak with the cadences of the Caribbean, and cope with the universal experiences of birth and death, joy and betrayal.
In “Hartstone High”, a group of girls learn the high price of education; in “Alvin's Ilk”, a self-centred teenaged boy comes to see his elderly neighbour in a whole new way; and in “Shining Waters”, a young priest’s plans for his new parish go horribly awry. Mordecai turns a sharp ear to the nuances of everyday speech, exposing the currents beneath the calm exterior and producing complex tales that will challenge and entertain her readers.
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Pamela Mordecai was born in Jamaica. She has authored or co-authored a number of textbooks, poetry anthologies, and a children’s play, and published an anthology of short stories. Her poems have been shortlisted for the CBC Literary Award for Poetry, The Institute of Jamaica’s Centenary Medal, Jamaica’s Vic Reid Award for Children’s Writing, and the Burla Award. Pamela lives in Kitchener, Ontario.
Published: April 2020
Originally published by: Insomniac Press
“Mordecai serves up violence, internalized racism, the varied failures of fathers, brothers, wives and mothers and children with an unexpected yet highly fluid mix of picaresque humour and unsparing human observation. Where the Jamaican rhythms and references and vocabulary of her narrators might sometimes confuse, her story structures and sharp character studies work to deftly gather things together. The book deserves and rewards a contemplative read.” — Jim Bartley, The Globe and Mail
“Her subjects are diverse, her storytelling immediate – especially in her use of a vibrant, dynamic language that superbly articulates an irrepressible Jamaican spirit.” — Donna Bailey Nurse, Toronto Star