The Dead Yard: A Story of Modern Jamaica

Ian Thomson, Nation, $16.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-56858-656-4
Journalist Thomson (Bonjour Blanc) offers a portrait of contemporary Jamaica beyond the clichés of "golden beaches and guns, guns, guns." Thomson spoke to Jamaicans from all strata of society: white Jamaicans, beneficiaries of fortunes built on slave labor, now hiding in their crumbling plantation mansions, terrified of the encroaching violence; Rastafarians and Maroons; rabbis and priests; tired bureaucrats and armed youths; Indian and Chinese shopkeepers; the musicians and producers that have exported Jamaican music all over the globe. At times the book is overcrowded with characters and lacks a cohesive argument, but the elegant capsule histories of major figures and events ground the interviews in context. What emerges is a portrait of a country haunted by its colonial past, still trying to define itself apart from the two imperial powers (U.S. and British) that have shaped it thus far, and of a diverse people who struggle to hold on to their hope for a brighter future. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/2011
Release date: 03/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 370 pages - 978-0-571-22762-4
Open Ebook - 384 pages - 978-0-571-25234-3
Paperback - 370 pages - 978-0-571-22761-7
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