Fiction 240 pages   New       EUR 15 ORDER

Kei Miller, Augustown, Hachette UK, 2016

Vividly bringing to life Jamaica in the 1980s, “Augustown” follows one family’s struggle to rise above the brutal vicissitudes of history, race, class, collective memory, violence, and myth. Central to this book is the story of an over-zealous teacher who cuts off a boy’s dreadlocks in his classroom. This is in a poor neighbourhood school in the fictional city of Augustown in Jamaica and this incident sparks off a dramatic event that gets the whole town marching. Built around this story are stories characters tell each other. These tales span back many years and involve a range of dynamic and vividly-realized characters from a cleaner prone to delusions to a pot-bellied Governor to a down-and-out man locked up in a madhouse who goes on to lead a revolt as a flying holy man. Using poetic language and a rigorous intelligence, Miller builds layered, intriguing, interweaving tales of the people from Augustown showing how the past is linked with the present. The effect is utterly absorbing for the secrets that are revealed and fascinating for the way his ideas make you stop and think.

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