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 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. ‘Augustown’ is a novel about inequality and aspiration, memory and myth, and the connections between people which can transcend these things but not always change them.
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WINNER OF THE OCM BOCAS PRIZE FOR CARIBBEAN LITERATURE
SHORTLISTED FOR THE RSL ONDAATJE PRIZE, THE GREEN CARNATION PRIZE, and the HISTORICAL WRITERS AWARD
‘Miller’s storytelling is superb’ SUNDAY TIMES
One April day in Augustown, Jamaica. Ma Taffy, old and blind, sits in her usual spot on the veranda. No matter how the world tilts around her, come hurricane or riot, she knows everything that goes on in this small community. Which is why, when her six-year-old nephew returns home from school with his dreadlocks shorn, she realises that trouble won’t be far behind. And so she tells him the story of Alexander Bedward, the flying preacherman. She remembers what happened to the Rastaman and his helper, Bongo Moody; she thinks of Soft-Paw, the leader of the Angola gang, and what lies beneath her house. For trouble is brewing once more among the ramshackle lanes of Augustown, and as Ma Taffy knows, each day contains much more than its own hours, or minutes, or seconds. In fact, each day contains all of history…
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