From My (E)Bookshelf: Ayiti, Light, Scarborough
For the third time, I’m featuring three digital titles From My (E)Bookshelf. These are recent downloads (Scribd) that happen to cover three categories of books: poetry, short story, and fiction. Let’s get right into it.
In Ayiti, a married couple seeking boat passage to America prepares to leave their homeland. A young woman procures a voodoo love potion to ensnare a childhood classmate. A mother takes a foreign soldier into her home as a boarder, and into her bed. And a woman conceives a daughter on the bank of a river while fleeing a horrific massacre, a daughter who later moves to America for a new life but is perpetually haunted by the mysterious scent of blood. These early stories showcase Gay’s prowess as “one of the voices of our age” (National Post, Canada).
The only book on this list that I’ve finished reading, Ayiti is Roxane Gay’s debut collection. The writing is incredible, the stories consuming and unforgettable, and I hope to add a physical copy to my bookshelves someday soon.
A Light Song of Light (2010)
Exploring the relationship between poetry and song, the pieces in this collection work to define the elemental human struggles of good versus evil and light against darkness. The poems take different shapesnewly forged dictionary definitions; praise-songs celebrating the Singerman in a Jamaican road gang; and simple narratives of ghosts, bandits, and other night creaturesand present an accomplished and progressive voice from a new generation of Caribbean writers.
Since reading Augustown (summer of 2019), I’ve wanted to read Kei Miller’s poetry; now I’m finally doing so.
Scarborough is a low-income, culturally diverse neighborhood east of Toronto, the fourth largest city in North America; like many inner-city communities, it suffers under the weight of poverty, drugs, crime, and urban blight. Scarborough the novel employs a multitude of voices to tell the story of a tight-knit neighborhood under fire: among them, Victor, a black artist harassed by the police; Winsum, a West Indian restaurant owner struggling to keep it together; and Hina, a Muslim school worker who witnesses first-hand the impact of poverty on education.
And then there are the three kids who work to rise above a system that consistently fails them: Bing, a gay Filipino boy who lives under the shadow of his father’s mental illness; Sylvie, Bing’s best friend, a Native girl whose family struggles to find a permanent home to live in; and Laura, whose history of neglect by her mother is destined to repeat itself with her father.
Scarborough offers a raw yet empathetic glimpse into a troubled community that locates its dignity in unexpected places: a neighborhood that refuses to be undone.
This novel appeared in the ‘Recommended For You’ section on my Scribd homepage, and the multi-perspective and generational themes caught my interest.
Were any of these books previously on your radar? Are you interested in any of them now? Have you downloaded any ebooks recently? Let’s chat below.