Shortlisted for the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards
Clustered together in azure-blue waters are a collection of little islands whose culture, history and people have touched every corner of the world. From the moment Columbus gazed out at what he mistook for India, and wrote in his journal of 'the most beautiful land that human eyes have ever seen,' the Caribbean has been the subject of fantasies, myths and daydreams. It was claimed, and its societies were built to enrich old Europe, and much later its beaches were splashed across billboards advertising fizzy drinks, its towns and people pictured in holiday brochures.
But these islands are so much more than gloss, white sand and palm trees, they form a region rich in colour, beauty and strength. Home of the Rastafarian faith, Che Guevara's stomping ground and birthplace of reggae, the Caribbean has produced some of the world's most famous artists, activists, writers, musicians and sportsmen - from Usain Bolt to Bob Marley and from Harry Belafonte to V. S. Naipaul. In the pages of Island People we hear the voices of the Caribbean people, explore their home and learn what it means to them, and to the world.
In this fascinating and absorbing book, the product of almost a decade of travel and intense study, Joshua Jelly-Schapiro strips away the fantasy and myth to expose the real islands, and the real people, that make up the Caribbean.
Jelly-Schapiro (co-editor of Nonstop Metropolis) investigates the Caribbean in this sweeping cultural study that covers the Greater and Lesser Antilles, including Jamaica, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, the Cayman Islands, Barbados, Grenada, Antigua, Martinique, and Trinidad. Jelly-Schapiro introduces the region's intellectual and artistic giants: Antigua's Jamaica Kincaid, Dominica's Jean Rhys, Jamaica's Bob Marley, Martinique's Aim C saire and Frantz Fanon, and Trinidad's V.S. Naipaul. He also discusses historical figures, such as Christopher Columbus and Toussaint Louverture, who influenced events throughout the Caribbean, and pays special tribute to Trinidadian C.L.R. James, whose scholarship looms over the book. Though his arguments about the relationship between modernity, tourism, and branding are not always clear, Jelly-Schapiro writes joyfully about music and literature and how these arts reflect the Caribbean's hybrid and evolving culture. Agency: Zo Pagnamenta Agency.