• Follow us

Books

Tall Histories: PW Talks with Curdella Forbes

Set in Forbes’s native Jamaica, A Tall History of Sugar (Akashic, Oct.) follows Moshe Fisher and his beloved protector.

What gave you the idea for the novel?

I had two ideas that I wanted to play with. One is the fairy tale form. I have always been fascinated by fairy tales. I’ve never seen them as “innocent” tales suitable for children. They’re stories of danger, really dangerous stories. I think the Brothers Grimm, for example, wrote down hidden histories, histories of haunting—all these unseen spirits lurking underground, underbrush. I wanted to write a fairy tale that was so true that you’d have to believe it was real. That way of seeing the world is also very typical in rural Jamaica, where I grew up; the boundaries between worlds are very porous, and it is true that we are haunted by the spirits of the history that began in 1494 and some that were there before.

The other idea is the politics—I’ve lived in the U.S. for 16 years, and there, of course, race is always in your face, always on the table. So I was provoked, you might say. I thought, “Well, okay, then suppose there was a person born whom you couldn’t assign to a race. What then?” So, Moshe. The rest just evolved from there.

What are the parallels between the characters of Moshe and Arrienne and the history of Jamaica?

I suppose one could say their story is to some extent a metaphor for Jamaica’s history; it’s a very historically accurate novel. But I tend to think it’s metonymic rather than metaphorical, if it is possible for fiction to be in any kind of metonymic relation to real life. It’s more that Jamaica is the frame in which such characters and events are possible. The most crucially important aspect of Moshe and Arrienne is their differentness, their unique individualities that make them not fit even where they most fit—at home. In a very contradictory way, this novel is about outliers, the “un-normal”—not abnormal, just un-normal. But mostly it is about how one loves.

Why did you choose to have the older Arrienne narrate and interject in the story?

It just made sense. I don’t believe that if you’re telling somebody else’s story that you’re simply a recorder. You’re always translating; you’re always slipping in, unconsciously, your own perspective, your own identity. The story is always compromised. We never can tell anybody else’s story in a true way, so to make it Moshe’s story, rather than somebody telling Moshe’s story, I had to make them both very closely related. I had to give them a different kind of relationship than simply the translator or the recorder. So I guess, in a way, I was seeking to put on the table the issue of the translator’s roles and voice and the politics of translation, to think about who the narrator becomes when translating.

A version of this article appeared in the 06/10/2019 issue of Publishers Weekly under the headline: Tall Histories

Read More



Leave A Comment

More News

Books - The Huffington Post

Twitter Users Have Field Day With Sarah Huckabee 2019-07-02 06:41:02The former White House press secretary was taunted with suggested titles for her reported upcoming book about working for Donald Trump.

These Major Booksellers’ Description Of 'Mein Kampf' Sounds 2019-07-01 21:29:36Hitler’s manifesto was marketed on Amazon, Walmart, Barnes and Noble and Books-A-Million as “what we must do if we want to survive as a pe

Where Are All The Black BookTubers? 2019-06-27 18:17:41There's something missing from YouTube's book blogging community: Black people and books by Black authors.

Nicholas Sparks Apologizes To LGBTQ Community 2019-06-17 14:44:43"The Notebook" author released a statement after emails surfaced appearing to back at least some allegations of racism and homophobia made against h

This Finance Book Just Might Change Your Life 2019-06-17 11:11:03The "I Will Teach You To Be Rich" title is polarizing, but the advice is on point.

Gloria Vanderbilt, American Fashion Icon, Has Died 2019-06-17 10:28:03After living her entire life in the public eye, Vanderbilt died from stomach cancer on Monday.

From The New Deal To The Green New 2019-06-09 11:14:42A historian delves into American liberalism's original Big Idea.

How I Got My Toddler Back On Books 2019-06-06 11:39:29I want my kid to treasure that magical reading time as much as I did growing up.

The Radical Empathy of Tim Murphy 2019-06-05 00:01:20The novelist drew upon his experience as a journalist and activist to create the sweeping, emotionally resonant novel "Correspondents."

Page-Turner

“Peony,” by C. L. O’Dell 2019-06-17 05:00:00Poetry by C. L. O’Dell: “I am ready for the next / thing.”

Where Are All the Books About Menopause?  2019-06-17 05:00:00For women, aging is framed as a series of losses—of fertility, of sexuality, of beauty. But it can also be a liberation, Sarah Manguso writes.&n

“Because,” by Ellen Bass 2019-06-17 05:00:00Poetry by Ellen Bass: “Because there’d been too many people / and then there was no one.”

Mary Grimm on the Rituals and Stories of 2019-06-17 05:00:00Deborah Treisman interviews Mary Grimm about “Back Then,” her short story from the June 24, 2019, issue of The New Yorker.

Liu Cixin’s War of the Worlds 2019-06-17 05:00:00A leading sci-fi writer takes stock of China’s global rise, Jiayang Fan writes.

“Back Then,” by Mary Grimm 2019-06-17 05:00:00Fiction by Mary Grimm: “I was thirteen, as I said, and something was going on with me, in my head or outside it.”

My Father’s Things, and My Own 2019-06-16 05:00:00Jane Brox writes on her father’s death, and the significance of the material things we leave behind.

The Strange Story of a Secret Literary Fellowship 2019-06-16 05:00:00Daniel A. Gross writes about what happened after he was offered ten thousand dollars as part of a new—and secretive—award for young writer

Sunday Reading: The Electrifying Critical Mind of Pauline 2019-06-16 05:00:00From The New Yorker’s archive, pieces by Pauline Kael on cinematic masterpieces: Martin Scorsese's "Taxi Driver" and "GoodFellas," Arthur P

The Invention of the “Beach Read” 2019-06-14 11:08:00Katy Waldman reviews “Books for Idle Hours,” a new history by the academic Donna Harrington-Lueker, which unpacks both the constructedness

“The Westing Game,” a Tribute to Labor That 2019-06-13 12:15:43Jia Tolentino writes about the children’s book “The Westing Game,” by Ellen Raskin.

What Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse-Five” Tells Us Now 2019-06-13 05:00:00Salman Rushdie on what the books “Slaughterhouse-Five,” by Kurt Vonnegut, “Catch-22,” by Joseph Heller, and others tell us abo

Christian Science Monitor |

His father was under F.B.I. surveillance. The family 2019-07-02 11:55:20In his book 'A Good American Family,' David Maraniss sorts through his parents' early communist sympathies and bears witness to the price they paid

E.B. White’s essays argue eloquently against extremism 2019-07-02 11:55:20E.B. White’s essays argue eloquently against extremism

Believing in the experiment of democracy, despite the 2019-07-02 11:55:20Believing in the experiment of democracy, despite the setbacks

Two early presidents raised warnings about the cult 2019-07-02 11:55:20Two early presidents raised warnings about the cult of personality

Why do birds migrate? Ask the man who’s 2019-07-02 11:55:20Kenn Kaufman, author of ‘A Season on the Wind: Inside the World of Spring Migration,’ talks about the wonder of migration and the effects

‘Charged’ examines the role of prosecutors in the 2019-07-02 11:55:20‘Charged’ examines the role of prosecutors in the U.S. justice system

Intimidated by verse? ‘Don’t Read Poetry’ explores how 2019-07-02 11:55:20Intimidated by verse? ‘Don’t Read Poetry’ explores how to enjoy poems.

Lee Krasner: abstract expressionist painter in her own 2019-07-02 11:55:20Lee Krasner: abstract expressionist painter in her own right

This summer’s buzziest book club read: The Mueller 2019-07-02 11:55:20The Mueller report can be intimidating. Book clubs have emerged to get Americans to read, and engage over, the divisive publication. 

‘Becoming Dr. Seuss’ opens up the author-illustrator’s world 2019-07-02 11:55:20‘Becoming Dr. Seuss’ opens up the author-illustrator’s world

A restless, kaleidoscopic view of an empire’s legacy 2019-07-02 11:55:20A restless, kaleidoscopic view of an empire’s legacy

‘Jurassic Park’ fans could learn a lot about 2019-07-02 11:55:20‘Jurassic Park’ fans could learn a lot about real dinosaurs in this book

The New York Review of Books

An Open Letter to the Director of the 2019-07-01 04:30:18By “unequivocally rejecting efforts to create analogies between the Holocaust and other events, whether historical or contemporary,” the U

The Driest Eye 2019-06-30 07:00:07Natalia Ginzburg’s work is so consistently surprising that reading it is something like being confronted with a brilliant child, innocent in the

Ronald Reagan’s Reel Life 2019-06-29 03:00:45Reagan was made by the movies—not just his career but his mentalité was made in Hollywood. As much as he had been a movie actor, Reagan w

Viola Frey: Ceramic Sculptor of the Anthropocene 2019-06-28 07:38:20The first image in “Viola Frey: Center Stage,” supersized on an atrium wall of the di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art in Napa, California

The Case of Yiyun Li 2019-06-27 10:00:17The effort of self-transformation is generally regarded as an improving journey, whatever its vicissitudes may have been. The writer Yiyun Li, who lef

The Road Taken 2019-06-27 08:30:41Pete Buttigieg’s campaign memoir, Shortest Way Home: One Mayor’s Challenge and a Model for America’s Future, introduces the candidat

The Image America Shouldn’t Need 2019-06-27 08:10:53There is a common belief that immigration reporting humanizes immigrants or inspires empathy. But I’m beginning to wonder if we’re simply

Webster’s Acrobatics 2019-06-27 07:30:49To the Editors: In his review of Peter Martin’s The Dictionary Wars: The American Fight Over the English Language, neither Christopher Benfey no

The Pentagon’s Outsized Part in the Climate Fight 2019-06-27 03:00:35As giant a consumer as the Pentagon is, its use of energy pales next to that of the civilian population of some three-hundred million Americans—

America’s Indefensible Defense Budget 2019-06-26 08:30:46The sheer size of the military establishment and the habit of equating spending on it with patriotism make both sound management and serious oversight

Timeline of Deceit: From Trump’s Draft to Rosenstein’s 2019-06-26 02:00:55These new disclosures of what Trump said in the draft letter terminating James Comey as FBI director highlight the central parts played in the affair

The Cold, Dead Hand of the NRA 2019-06-24 10:35:55The NRA may repair its finances—dues did rebound in 2018, though the recent scandal seems likely to reverse that trend. The organization may als

Books

In 'The Gifted School,' Ripped-From-The-Headlines Parental Scheming 2019-07-02 07:00:23Bruce Holsinger's new novel — about overprivileged parents cheating to get their kids into a magnet school — is very topical, but the cha

Kids' Author Mo Willems Has A New Creative 2019-07-02 05:07:00The creator of the Pigeon series, Knuffle Bunny, and Elephant & Piggie is currently an Artist-in-Residence at the Kennedy Center. He says if you w

George Takei On Why America's Past Is Present 2019-07-01 11:30:30Takei is the co-author of a forthcoming graphic novel about his experience in a Japanese-American internment camp.

From Ansel Adams To Unica Zürn, 'Scrawl' Finds 2019-07-01 09:44:12Some might say these little works only acquire their auras through their creators' fame. But once you start pondering them, they start to seem like f

'Reviving Ophelia' Turns 25 2019-06-30 17:18:00The 1994 book Revivng Ophelia spotlighted the mental health of teenage girls. Years later, author Mary Pipher and her daughter Sara Pipher Gilliam hav

How The Advance Weather Forecast Got Good 2019-06-30 08:12:00Under the radar (so to speak), predictions have improved dramatically of late. In The Weather Machine, Andrew Blum writes that it's due to an interna

A Self-Sufficient Kid Finds An Unexpected Silver Lining 2019-06-30 07:00:11Lauren Morrill's new YA novel follows 17-year-old Maritza, who's used to taking care of herself. But when she lands with a foster mother who truly c

Not My Job: We Quiz Novelist Jennifer Weiner 2019-06-29 14:39:00Weiner will be quizzed on one whiner in particular — she'll have to figure out which negative review was actually written by host Peter Sagal'

'Three Women' Puts Female Desire At The Forefront 2019-06-29 08:03:00For her new book, Lisa Taddeo spent nearly a decade immersed in the sex lives of three women. She says desire is one of the things we think about the

Podcasts Are Providing A New Way Into Poetry 2019-06-29 07:00:09A poem on the page has its appeal — but poetry spoken aloud is a more intimate experience. And a new crop of podcasts are expanding poetry, givi

For Novelist John Green, OCD Is Like An 2019-06-28 13:22:00The Turtles All The Way Down author says OCD "starts out with one little thought, and then slowly that becomes the only thought that you're able to

3 Memoirs That Explore The Many Facets Of 2019-06-28 07:00:00One in five Americans have some experience with mental illness every year — and these three new memoirs dig into that experience, whether it's


Disclaimer and Notice:WorldProNews.com is not responsible of these news or any information published on this website.