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Five great books set in THE CARIBBEAN

24th June 2020

The Caribbean is the latest place for us to visit in our ‘Great books set in…’ series. Five great books set in The Caribbean.

Nowhere else is it possible to experience, in such a small area, so many different cultures and social conditions, such diverse vegetation, and such varied landscape as in the Caribbean‘ – Leonard Adkins

There is something fresh and crisp about the first hours of a Caribbean day, a happy anticipation that something is about to happen, maybe just up the street or around the next corner‘ – Hunter S. Thompson

Here are five books to read that will immerse you in The Caribbean, on different islands and all with very different characters and stories to tell….

Five great books set in THE CARIBBEANGolden Child by Claire Adam – TRINIDAD & TOBAGO

Rural Trinidad: a brick house on stilts surrounded by bush; a family, quietly surviving, just trying to live a decent life.

Clyde, the father, works long, exhausting shifts at the petroleum plant in southern Trinidad; Joy, his wife, looks after the home. Their two sons, thirteen years old, wake early every morning to travel to the capital, Port of Spain, for school. They are twins but nothing alike: Paul has always been considered odd, while Peter is widely believed to be a genius, destined for greatness.

When Paul goes walking in the bush one afternoon and doesn’t come home, Clyde is forced to go looking for him, this child who has caused him endless trouble already, and whom he has never really understood. And as the hours turn to days, and Clyde begins to understand Paul’s fate, his world shatters – leaving him faced with a decision no parent should ever have to make.

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A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James – JAMAICA

Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2015

JAMAICA, 1976

Seven gunmen storm Bob Marley’s house, machine guns blazing. The reggae superstar survives, but the gunmen are never caught.

From the acclaimed author of The Book of Night Women comes a dazzling display of masterful storytelling exploring this near-mythic event. Spanning three decades and crossing continents, A Brief History of Seven Killings chronicles the lives of a host of unforgettable characters – slum kids, one-night stands, drug lords, girlfriends, gunmen, journalists, and even the CIA. Gripping and inventive, ambitious and mesmerising, A Brief History of Seven Killings is one of the most remarkable and extraordinary novels of the twenty-first century.

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Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys – DOMINICA & JAMAICA

A prequel to Jane Eyre, telling the story of the Creole heiress Antoinette, the “mad woman in the attic”.

Born into the oppressive, colonialist society of Jamaica, white Creole heiress Antoinette Cosway meets a young Englishman who is drawn to her innocent beauty and sensuality. After their marriage, however, disturbing rumours begin to circulate which poison her husband against her. Caught between his demands and her own precarious sense of belonging, Antoinette is inexorably driven towards madness, and her husband into the arms of another novel’s heroine. This classic study of betrayal, a seminal work of postcolonial literature, is Jean Rhys’s brief, beautiful masterpiece.

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Five great books set in THE CARIBBEANThe Comedians by Graham Greene – HAITI

Three men meet on a ship bound for Haiti, a world in the grip of the corrupt ‘Papa Doc’ and the Tontons Macoute, his sinister secret police.

Brown the hotelier, Smith the innocent American and Jones the confidence man – these are the ‘comedians’ of Graham Greene’s title. Hiding behind their actors’ masks, they hesitate on the edge of life. And, to begin with, they are men afraid of love, afraid of pain, afraid of fear itself…

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Don’t Stop the Carnival by Herman Wouk – BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS

It’s everyone’s dream: to leave behind the rat-race of the working world and start life all over again amidst the cool breezes, sun-drenched colours, and rum-laced drinks of a tropical paradise.

This is the story of Norman Paperman, a New York City press agent who, facing the onset of middle age, runs away to a Caribbean island to reinvent himself as a hotel keeper.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Herman Wouk, who himself lived on an island in the sun for seven years, draws on his own experiences to tell a story at once brilliantly comic and deeply moving about a man’s search for happiness, and for himself.

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We hope this has given you a taste for books with a Caribbean setting. Take a look at our database for more than 100 titles set here, and please feel free to add more!

Andrew for the TripFiction Team

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