Sunday, 19 August 2018
Augustown - Kei Miller (2016)
Augustown is the first novel I've read written by a Jamaican, if you don't count Bob Marley's often brilliant lyrics (another contender for the Nobel Peace Prize in literature?). The novel's structure is one of interconnected vignettes that tell the story of how the history of slavery taints the generations that follow emancipation. The novel is quite engaging, with vivid island vernacular and enough character development to evoke a readers' sympathy. Miller explores the historical and mythical folk origins of Rastafarianism in the form of a healer called Alexander Bedward, who believed he could fly before unfortunately being incarcerated in an asylum in 1920. I mostly enjoyed the novel, however there was a part of me that just couldn't get interested enough to be totally absorbed by the narrative. Fortunately it turns out that Augustown is one of those novels that becomes more appreciated in hindsight, making it a much better novel than I first thought.