She's Gone

Kwame Dawes, Author
Kwame Dawes, Author Akashic Books $15.95 (340p) ISBN 978-1-933354-18-7
Ebook - 350 pages - 978-1-61775-071-7
Open Ebook - 309 pages - 978-1-306-83712-5
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In his debut novel, Jamaican writer Dawes unites Kofi, singer and lyricist of the Jamaican Reggae band Small Ax, and the equally last-nameless Columbia University sex researcher Keisha on the dance floor of a beachfront Carolina club, but can't make them connect fully, with each other or as characters. With sparks flying (and over the protestations of the ambitious bass player Pedro), the two decamp to Spanish Town in the Greater Antilles, where Keisha takes a job in a private high school and Kofi, inspired by rubbish scavengers, composes social lamentations. When word comes that Kofi's Aunt Josephine is on her deathbed, the two rush to the Jamaican backwater of Castlevale to find the old lady holding off the inevitable until she has had a chance to fill Keisha in on her nephew's complicated genealogy. Kofi grieves by purging himself with bags of oranges, and Keisha, feeling spurned, travels deeper in-country, and ends up dissuading a would-be rapist by means of projectile vomiting. She returns to Spanish Town to bid Kofi farewell, but secondhand tidings of a pregnancy lure him into stalking her across the Caribbean. Dawes then maps out Keisha's South Carolina backstory, but all of the attributes of these two characters-from Kofi's Ghanian roots to Keisha's tardily-recovered molestation memories and abuse at the hands of former beau Troy-don't gel.
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