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5.0 out of 5 starsHang On
Reviewed in the United States on August 30, 2020
Get ready for several rides as you move through these stories without stopping to take a breath! Was never sure where they were taking me but I went along for the trip and what a trip it was. I traveled down dark, rainy, curry-scented filled streets in Kingston knowing danger was everywhere! Macabre being the password to entering so many violent environments I lost track. I was constantly humming Electric Avenue throughout each tale.
Reviewed in the United States on September 2, 2013
It captures the raw underbelly, and more importantly the rich spiciness peculiar to Kingston, Jamaica. Kingston, a city akin to every big city, but at the same time unique unto itself in its moist, sultry breezes, its characters, all seeking salvation of one sort or nother; its patois and its cultural memories propelling the characters toward their inevitable conclusions. Lacking the British hauteur of the Bahamas, the steely sweetness of Trinidad and the professional amiability of Barbados, Jamaica, exemplified by Kingston Noir is a straight-up, no nonsense window into the psyche of the Jamaican people, smart, savvy, ganja-smoking hustlers, avenging angels and people trying to do right in a society that may or may not have done them wrong. How refreshing to read about a people for whom white opinion, white judgement, isn't even a blip on their radar screen. We can all learn something from that.
Reviewed in the United States on November 28, 2014
An impressive collection of short stories set in Kingston, Jamaica. The one by Kai Miller is absolutely magnificent - a subtle, stunning, small masterpiece with an impact that lingers. You can justify buying the book just for that. But there are other good tales in the collection, If you know Kingston they are intensely evocative and have that slightly mildewed scent of urban Jamaica: ganja, jerk chicken,Ting, hot garbage and ginnups. Grab ya tam an gansey an gwannan get it.
Reviewed in the United States on December 30, 2013
I am not Jamaican, but alas, a lover of all/ most things Jamaican, from the accent, to Reggae and Dancehall. I dream of going to Jamaica one day (soon) and want to learn as much as possible about the island, the history, the people, etc. For now living on Jamaica Avenue in Queens will have to suffice. I also have a history of wanting to be a writer and have written short stories in the past. That being said, I think this collection of short stories was nothing less than a masterpiece. I liked every story, but a few stand out as truly marvelous works of literary short fiction.
I did not read the book in order and started with Colin Channer's "Monkey Man," because I have read his work in the past and always loved it. This story did not disappoint, with its way of playing with gender/ sexuality and a man in a monkey suit. Highlights to me, as well, were Kwame Dawe's "My Lord," Kei Millers "The White Girl with the Camera" (which I delayed reading but was written so beautifully that it caught my breath. Key here is characterization of the awesome bad-man Soft-Paw, who for 6 days allows a white girl to capture the beauty of the poverty of August Town in peace, before his bad-man-ness comes out again. It also leaves out what... exactly... happens to the white girl which I think is genius and leaves the story on your mind), Patricia Powell's "Tomcat Beretta"(great female-headed piece), and of course, of course, Christopher John Farley's "54-46 (That's My Number)," which star the unlikely pair of a Rasta Math Genius and his police commissioner brother. I am not a math person, but this story is intelligent and just needs a round of applause.I know a real Rasta-man probably wouldn't work with or for the police in real life, brother or not, but loved this story.
I had a minor qualm with Chris Abani's "Sunrise" because the mother in this piece is stated to be 43, when factually, she should have been around 31, having had her now teenage daughter around 17/18, and because I don't know how realistic it is to tie up a pregnant woman without expecting some repercussion. Still, it was beautifully written. As much as I loveeedddd the before-mentioned pieces, I have to big up Marcia Douglass for her crazed Dancehall Queen in "One-Girl Half-Way Tree Concert" and Thomas Glave for touching on the taboo subject of homosexuality in Jamaica in "Leighton Leigh Anne Norbrook," which is his academic forte, after all. Ian Thomson's "A Grave Undertaking" was humorous and allowed his deceased character to talk after death. Marlon James's "Immaculate" was a heavy-hitter, a longer story and well-written. It was extremely painful for me to read about a young girl being hurt so tragically, though. Maybe that's why it wasn't a personal favorite.
If you pick up this book, Kingston will come alive- the ghetto with its tin roof shacks, the rain- which reappears again and again, the trenches, the mud, the houses up on the hills which are physically and symbolically "above" it all, the beautiful-dangerous people, the chaos, the African rebel version of English, the violence, the sorrow, love, sex, revenge and death. The cover artwork of a sexy loc'ed up couple on a motorbike is simply bad-ass and unforgettable. I want to go to Jamaica all the more now. I want to pick up others in the Noir series as well. And of course, going to keep an eye out for each of the individual contributors work in the future.
Highly, highly recommend if you have any interest in Kingston,Jamaica or the Noir genre. ;)
i savored this book --- loved seeing my favorite authors do something different --- the NOIR is not that bad ---- this book and the short stories are like poetry -- my favorite --- hard to decide - the HIV attraction, the school girl under the bus --- white gyal with the camera - monkey man (woman) ---
3.0 out of 5 starsAn engaging and diverse collection of stories staged against the ...
Reviewed in the United States on April 19, 2016
An engaging and diverse collection of stories staged against the always intriguing backdrop of Jamaica. They all held my interest, some made me gasp, but none quite took me away to that 'other place' of exceptional literature. Time well spent and certainly worth the price of admission.
5.0 out of 5 starsDon't expect a little umbrella in your drink on this trip to Jamaica.
Reviewed in the United States on May 28, 2013
Your travel agent certainly did not plan on the characters from this special piece. You become early invested in the lives of these folks whose stories are varied with humor, terror, twists and turns. I am anxious to read the entire Noir Series that are set in many of the globes different cities. I would compare some of this work to that of Elmore Leonard, a gritty, funny favorite of mine.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 20, 2012
Enjoyed this immensely, however there are some harsh references. The stories are interesting and spellbinding...could not put it down...but I was left feeling both satifised and sad. A raw telling of slices of life in Kingston that will both shock and make the reader smile.