See the review below.
Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean. Peekash: Akashic. 2014.
224p. ISBN 9781617752711. pap. $15.95; ebk. ISBN 9781617752834. F
When Commonwealth Writers and the British Council invited Akashic Books of Brooklyn and Peepal Tree of England to the Kingston Book Festival, literary history began. The publishers jointly formed Peekash Press, which focuses on Caribbean literature. The imprint’s first book is this collection of short stories by writers both novice and established who are originally from the region or living there; the authors hail from Belize, Antigua, and Barbados, among other nations. The pieces are as diverse in subject and in style as their creators. Dwight Thompson’s “The Science of Salvation” tells the tale of a violent criminal who finds salvation because a single person, his childhood friend, never judges him for his misdeeds. Kimmisha Thomas’s “Berry” portrays a lesbian couple who discover the courage to come out despite hostility. Ezekel Alan’s “Waywardness” ends tragically but is finely written as the narrator discusses the free yet dangerous life that his cousin lives. The wonder in these stories is that they show Caribbean culture—the people, sounds, food, and music. VERDICT Like Alex Wheatle’s Island Songs, this book will appeal to readers of Caribbean fiction and beyond.—Ashanti White, Yelm, WA