Vibrant, magical, musical, pulsing with the rhythms of Trinidad and Harlem, Kelvin Christopher James’s prose is as striking and bold as his subject matter. It speaks directly to the heart and the senses as it takes us to such exotic places as a lush but lethal garden of earthly delights or depicts a fledgling drug dealer’s grisly revenge. Jumping Ship and Other Stories takes place in Trinidad, the United States, and in between. Part One is set in the Caribbean and gives us lyrical and sensuous tales of growing up and living there: A valiant woman defends her family from a Rastaman who means to frighten them from their home; a pair of tourists invite trouble when they try to photograph an Obeah (witchcraft) rite; a feud between a one-handed butcher and a humpbacked shoemaker reaches its dramatic climax at the full moon. Part Two lets us experience the journey made by those in the Caribbean who would come to the United States. In the title story, two village men jump ship to confront the unimaginable neon, crowds, and noise of the big city. In "The Vagabond’s Genie," a wry fugitive perpetrates a wild ruse at a guardhouse on the border. Part Three consists of moving and sometimes violent and shocking stories set in Harlem: A young man in prison contemplates the death of his older brother in a holdup; the relationship between two young drug dealers goes awry with terrifying results; a homeless woman lashes out to defend her territory. The final story concerns a father taking his young Americanized son home to the Caribbean to meet his grandmother for the first time. Kelvin Christopher James’s Jumping Ship and Other Stories is about good and evil, rich and poor, macho and matriarchy, dislocation and the meaning of "home." It is the exciting beginning of what promises to be a major literary career.
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