Leone Ross. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28 (480p) ISBN 978-0-3746-024-51
Ross (Orange Laughter) draws on her Jamaican ancestry for a vibrant story of sensual characters and awe-inspiring, sometimes hilarious magic (or, as it’s known on the ferocious island chain of Popisho, “cors”). In this small fictional country, each person is born with a special cors (“A gift, nah? Yes. From the gods: a thing so inexpressibly your own,” Ross writes). Xavier Redchoose is divinely chosen to cook each person a perfect, individualized meal; Anise Latibeaudearre, Xavier’s long-lost love, is a healer; Romanza, son of the governor who exiled him for being gay, lives in a tree on the Dead Islands and can detect lies; Sonteine, the governor’s daughter, is the only woman yet to receive her cors. Xavier, on the anniversary of his wife’s death, is tasked to prepare a special meal for Sonteine’s upcoming wedding. Xavier, however, detests such elitism: he prepares meals at random, not according to privilege. As the governor’s corruption becomes more evident, the land itself revolts, sending the people of Popisho into odd, disorienting chaos, intertwining the lives of many and exposing a fermenting class revolution. Though the novel suffers from long, laborious exposition, Ross’s joyous imagining of a peoples’ power goes a long way to redeeming the narrative doldrums. This fresh take on magical realism delivers the goods. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 01/21/2021
Release date: 04/20/2021
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 480 pages - 978-1-250-82963-4
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