In the wake of Marlon James’s Man Booker Prize–winning A Brief History of Seven Killings, Augustown—set in the backlands of Jamaica—is a magical and haunting novel of one woman’s struggle to rise above the brutal vicissitudes of history, race, class, collective memory, violence, and myth
Ma Taffy may be blind but she sees everything. So when her great-nephew Kaia comes home from school in tears, what she senses sends a deep fear running through her. While they wait for his mama to come home from work, Ma Taffy recalls the story of the flying preacherman and a great thing that did not happen. A poor suburban sprawl in the Jamaican heartland, Augustown is a place where many things that should happen don’t, and plenty of things that shouldn’t happen do. For the story of Kaia leads back to another momentous day in Jamaican history, the birth of the Rastafari and the desire for a better life.
Marlon James Quote: “This is a deceptive spellbinder, a metafiction so disguised as old-time storytelling that you can almost hear the crackle of home fire as it starts. But then it gets you with twists and turns, seduces and shocks you even as it wrestles with the very nature of storytelling itself…it’s the story of women haunted by women, and of the dangers of both keeping secrets and saying too much.”Author’s Reputation: Acclaimed, prize-winning Jamaican poet Kei Miller’s most recent collection of poetry, The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion (2014), was awarded the prestigious Forward Prize for Best Collection and was chosen by best-selling novelist Hilary Mantel as one of the best books of the year.
UK Publication: The UK published Augustown in July 2016 to stellar reviews. Praise from the UK:
“Driven by atmosphere more than plot, the language is as clear as spring water.” —Observer
“Richly nuanced and empathetic…a vivid modern fable.” —Guardian
“Like a wide-angled lens, Miller’s novel fits much into a small frame—Augustown itself, Rastafari, gang and police violence, religious opposition to colonial rule—but still gives an impression of space.” —Daily Telegraph
“Truly panoramic” —Sunday Telegraph
Miller's storytelling is superb, its power coming from the seamless melding of the magical and the everyday, which gives his novel a significant fabular quality.”—Sunday Times