Nothing is straightforward in Markham’s fictive world. His stories constantly deny conventional expectations and make us rethink both how we interpret experience and what we expect of fiction.
Conventional narrative could never convey the complexities of the recurrent and entertaining cast of mainly Caribbean characters as they make sense of their remembered and reinvented lives. Digression becomes an art form both in Pewter Stapleton’s narration and in their stories. It is the rich web of words they weave that leads Markham to his image of the drawing room as a repository of the talk of family and friends as perhaps the most valuable possession taken by Caribbean people through Customs.
This collection brings together new and uncollected stories and selections from E.A. Markham’s two previous collections, Something Unusual (1984) and Ten Stories (1992). Each of the stories has its own crafted completeness, whether in the observant humour of 'The Pig Was Mine', the bleakness of 'Skeletons', the audacious mythologizing of 'A Short History of St. Cesaire', or the absurdist magical realism of 'Digging.' They confirm him as one of the most original users of the short story form in both British and Caribbean fiction.
E.A. (Archie) Markham died unexpectedly in Paris on 23rd March, Easter day. Born in Montserrat in 1939, E.A. Markham worked in the theatre, in the media and as a literary editor.