Ferron’s response to the death is further complicated by guilt, particularly over his recent failure to protect his fiancée, Dolores, from a brutal rape. He begins, though, to investigate the direction of his life with great intensity, in particular to confront his instinct to keep running from trouble.
This is a sharply-focused portrayal of Jamaica at a tipping point in its recent past, in which the private grief and trauma condenses a whole society’s scarcely understood sense of temporariness and dislocation. For both Ferron and the society there has been the loss of ‘the corpse of one’s origins’ and the novel points to the need to find a way back before there can be a movement forward.
Kwame Dawes is widely acknowledged as the foremost Caribbean poet of the post-Walcott generation. He currently holds the position of Distinguished Poet In Residence and Louise Fry Scudder Professor of Liberal Arts at the University of South Carolina.