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Books By Colin Channer
“Subverts the simplistic sunshine/reggae/spliff-smoking image of Jamaica at almost every turn . . . with a rich interplay of geographies and themes.” —Los Angeles Times
From Trench Town to Half Way Tree to Norbrook to Portmore and beyond, the stories of Kingston Noir shine light into the darkest corners of this fabled city.
Joining award-winning Jamaican authors such as Marlon James, Leone Ross, and Thomas Glave are two “special guest” writers with no Jamaican lineage: Nigerian-born Chris Abani and British writer Ian Thomson. The menacing tone that runs through some of these stories is counterbalanced by the clever humor in others, such as Kei Miller’s “White Gyal with a Camera,” who softens even the hardest of August Town’s gangsters; and Mr. Brown, the private investigator in Kwame Dawes’s story, who explains why his girth works to his advantage: “In Jamaica a woman like a big man. She can see he is prosperous, and that he can be in charge.”
Together—with more contributions from Patricia Powell, Colin Channer, Marcia Douglas, and Christopher John Farley—the outstanding tales in Kingston Noir comprise the best volume of short fiction ever to arise from the literary wellspring that is Jamaica.
“Thoroughly well-written stories . . . fans of noir will enjoy this batch of sordid tales set in the sweltering heat of the tropics.” —Publishers Weekly
“An eclectic and gritty mélange of tales that sears the imagination . . . Kingston Noir proves its worth as a quintessential piece of West Indian literature—rich, artistic, timeless, and above all, draped in unmistakable realism.” —The Gleaner (Jamaica)
As the clock nears midnight, a travel-weary man steps out of the New York subway where Chinatown collides with Soho and TriBeCa. He strides up West Broadway in his tough, scuffed boots past cafés and bars. Then he sees her, and a spark is lit. She walks like a dancer, and trailing behind her in the coltish breeze is a light silk scarf whose flutter he deems
romantic. . . .
Meet Fire--Jamaican born, charming, poetic, and talented--a man who's vowed to never play "love-is-blind" games again. Then he meets Sylvia, a beautiful magazine editor who keeps her passions under lock and key. Together they must choose between the love in their lives and the love of their lives.
Waiting in Vain is a sexy, hypnotic, and beautifully written novel of two souls who meet by chance--then fall hard and fast in a precarious world of hopeful dreamers. With an amazing gift for capturing the subtle Jamaican cadences of his characters' voices, in prose that drips of passion both carnal and pure, Colin Channer immerses us in the fast-paced, often cutthroat art world where sculptors, writers, poets, musicians, gallery owners, and benefactors all reach for success at the expense of themselves and the truth.
From the galleries of Soho to the brownstones of Brooklyn, from the nightclubs of London to the streets of Kingston, Jamaica, Channer takes us on a wild, soul-searching ride as Fire and Sylvia try to connect, disconnect, and reconnect amid conflicting desires and wounds from the past. But through intricate love triangles, skewed priorities, and crushing personal tragedies, Fire, Sylvia, and their friends must learn that some things in life are worth fighting for. If not, you're simply waiting in vain.
Spanning the early 1900s up to modern times, the stories trace the intersecting lives of travelers, expatriates, and local folks in ways that shock, illuminate, and reveal. From the American photographer who finds her world disturbed by new forms of love and lust, to a charismatic priest confronted by the earthly perks of fame and stardom, the diverse mix of characters are united by the universal search for love and understanding—a challenge on an island simmering with issues of politics, power, and race.
Written with poetic grace and titillating candor, each story shines against its own tableau—World War II, the rise of Fidel Castro, Mt. Pelée devastating Martinique, import-export trading, Bob Marley in the days before his music echoed all around the world. As men and women fall in love, marry and remarry, face moral conflicts and new identities, the volcano sees it all. From plantation days to the roots of revolution, it is a silent witness to the turbulent century that engulfs this tiny island of eternal humor, passion, and allure.
Contributors include: Colin Channer, Elizabeth Nunez, Marlon James, Kwame Dawes, Kaylie Jones, Geoffrey Philp, Rudolph Wallace, Konrad Kirlew, Alwin Bully, A-dZiko Simba, and Sharon Leach.
Playwright Carey McCullough is a close guardian of his privacy, haunted by a recurring dream and a damaged past he would like to keep there. But some things he can never forget. And the more he pushes them away, the more uprooted he feels. The women he has loved, lusted after, rejected, and embraced represent a lifetime of trial and error, adventure and compromise. Then, while in Jamaica, he crosses paths with a radiant woman who attracts him like a flame.
Then he remembers. The first time Carey saw Frances, she was singing a blues song on a videotape. Of course then she was just a nameless face, a hazy image that he could never quite get out of his mind. Now she has entered his life in the flesh. But this undeniable attraction is much more than chemistry. As Carey soon discovers from a “reader” of the spirit world, he and Frances share a history that has linked their souls for more than four hundred years. Though Carey views past lives with skepticism, he cannot explain knowing the language of an ancient African people—in particular the phrase: “Mulewe anekoso kuduwe bana” (“I will search until I find you”).
Yet Frances conceals secrets of her own, with devastating consequences. And while Carey visits his best friend and fellow playwright, Kwabena Small, in South Carolina, a bond that was once thought to be unbreakable will be put to the ultimate test as startling truths at last emerge. . . .
In a stunning novel of extraordinary power that involves a mystical journey to Ghana, Colin Channer combines profound questions of faith, the aching search for home, the long reach of history, and the double-edged sword of passion to dazzling effect. Satisfy My Soul will linger in yours long after the final page is turned.