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How to Love a Jamaican

Stories
Length: 7 hrs and 3 mins
4 out of 5 stars (45 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

“In these kaleidoscopic stories of Jamaica and its diaspora we hear many voices at once. All of them convince and sing. All of them shine.” (Zadie Smith)

An O: The Oprah Magazine “Top 15 Best of the Year” 

A Well-Read Black Girl’s Pick 

Tenderness and cruelty, loyalty and betrayal, ambition and regret - Alexia Arthurs navigates these tensions to extraordinary effect in her debut collection about Jamaican immigrants and their families back home. Sweeping from close-knit island communities to the streets of New York City and midwestern university towns, these 11 stories form a portrait of a nation, a people, and a way of life.

In “Light-Skinned Girls and Kelly Rowlands”, an NYU student befriends a fellow Jamaican whose privileged West Coast upbringing has blinded her to the hard realities of race. In “Mash Up Love”, a twin’s chance sighting of his estranged brother - the prodigal son of the family - stirs up unresolved feelings of resentment. In “Bad Behavior”, a couple leave their wild teenage daughter with her grandmother in Jamaica, hoping the old ways will straighten her out. In “Mermaid River”, a Jamaican teenage boy is reunited with his mother in New York after eight years apart. In “The Ghost of Jia Yi”, a recently murdered student haunts a despairing Jamaican athlete recruited to an Iowa college. And in “Shirley from a Small Place”, a world-famous pop star retreats to her mother’s big new house in Jamaica, which still holds the power to restore something vital.

Alexia Arthurs emerges in this vibrant, lyrical, intimate collection as one of fiction’s most dynamic and essential authors. 

Praise for How to Love a Jamaican:

“A sublime short-story collection from newcomer Alexia Arthurs that explores, through various characters, a specific strand of the immigrant experience.” (Entertainment Weekly

“Gorgeous, tender, heartbreaking stories.... Arthurs is a witty, perceptive, and generous writer, and this is a book that will last.” (Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body and Other Parties)  

"Vivid and exciting...every story rings beautifully true." (Marie Claire)

©2018 Alexia Arthurs (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“In vibrant, evocative prose, Arthurs brings these characters, and their varied experiences of a shared home, to life.” (BuzzFeed

“With its singular mix of psychological precision and sun-kissed lyricism, this dazzling debut marks the emergence of a knockout new voice.” (O: The Oprah Magazine)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful stories, horrible inauthentic Jamaican accents

As a Jamaican living in the diaspora, I loved the stories in this book and felt that they were very authentic and well written. I really disliked the readers of the stories. Their imitation of Jamaican accents were so horrible I often had to translate things in my mind and it made it so painful to listen to their voices.

I found myself yelling corrections at the readers and it made it difficult for me to relax and enjoy the stories.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Not at all what I expected

This book was disappointing. As a Jamaican American, I hoped to hear authentic Jamaican voices bring these stories to life. Not only were he accents completely off base, but the stories weren’t very compelling either. I didn’t expect to feel a connection to everyone’s own oral history, but it was significantly underwhelming as a Jamaican, as a black woman, and simply a lover of the arts.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Simply amazing

This book is simply amazing. The stories are relatable, human, but grounded in the experience of Jamaica! I loved the characters in each story and I know they will be on my mind for a while!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Wha gwaan?!

We need authentic Jamaican speakers, pleaseeee! to read the stories. It's a disservice not to have. I am disappointed.