How to Love a Jamaican by Alexia Arthurs

How to Love a Jamaican

From a magnetic new voice, a debut story collection set in Jamaica and America for readers of Zadie Smith, Helen Oyeyemi, and Imbolo Mbue. "There is a way to be cruel that seems Jamaican to me."Tenderness and cruelty, loyalty and betrayal, ambition and regret--Alexia Arthurs navigates these tensions to extraordinary effect in her debut collection about Jamaican immigrants and their families back home. Sweeping from close-knit island communiti...

Details How to Love a Jamaican

TitleHow to Love a Jamaican
Release DateJul 24th, 2018
PublisherBallantine Books
GenreShort Stories, Fiction

Reviews How to Love a Jamaican

  • Debra
    How to love a Jamaican is a collection of short stories which are as vibrant as the cover of the book itself! I won’t give a synopsis of the book, but I will tell you that this book is wonderfully written and engaging. The book focuses on Jamaicans living in both Jamaica and America. The book has themes such as family, culture, the harshness of life, Motherhood (and controlling mothers), self-discovery, sexuality, love, personal growth, insight...
  • Rod-Kelly Hines
    I’m so happy to have received an ARC from NetGalley because this was such a phenomenal collection of stories. I love when a debut author has a fully-realized voice: there is an immediacy to Alexia Arthurs’s writing which allows all of the complex emotions her characters experience to be incredibly touching and relatable. Every story has a person of Jamaican descent as a main character, with most of the stories focused on self-discovery, remem...
  • BookOfCinz
    I finally finished How To Love A Jamaican and I am thoroughly pleased with this debut novel. I have to admit I can be a bit biased when I read books written by Jamaicans about Jamaicans, but even with my Jamaican googles off this book is absolutely a must-read. I am so impressed with Alexia Arthur’s writing, she perfectly captures the various nuances of the Jamaican culture and its people. If you are looking for a solid collection of short stor...
  • Latanya (CraftyScribbles)
    "How to Love A Jamaican" is not difficult at all, if you just listen 4 stars for various perspectives of life, love, and family set on an island only seen for its shallow vacation fare and ganga, when complex nuances coat the green isle.Favorite Story: We Eat Our Daughters*I received this tale from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review*
  • Kasa Cotugno
    Exceptionally strong collection with a definite focus and some beautiful writing. Most of these stories star young Jamaicans finding new lives in the U.S., usually as students in such places as Iowa and Wisconsin where they have been granted full boat scholarships, many pursue extended degrees. But their ties to their heritage are strong, and the generation preceding this one is presented with affection, their speech lovingly recreated incorporat...
  • Makeda / ColourLit
    I heard about this collection of stories at the end of last year and knew it was going to be something special. If you are of Jamaican (or even Caribbean) heritage you will feel a sense of familiarity with the stories being told. Even though the stories aren’t linked (or meant to be?) reoccurring themes popped up - (1) relationships between mothers and daughters - obedience and rebellion, (2) migration and the (incorrect?) perception that leavi...
  • Nia Forrester
    I got the ARC from NetGalley and am so glad a friend thought to mention it to me. This collection of short stories is rich with details of my own experience as someone of Jamaican parentage, who spent the better part of my life growing up, living, and working in the U.S. but still feeling deep emotional connectedness to Jamaica. The details of place, culture, dialect, and food were all spot-on, with never a moment that was false or contrived. As ...
  • Karen Nelson
    How To Love A Jamaican is a beautiful collection of short stories about the lives of Jamaicans, living on the island, as well as those who have decided to come to the United States. There isn’t much about white sand beaches, all inclusive hotels, and the tourist experience in this collection, but instead focuses on the human condition toward a more authentic Jamaica. There are many themes within this book of short stories. Family, sexuality, lo...
  • Andre
    All eleven stories in this collection are centered in the Jamaican experience both there and here in the US, mainly NYC, specifically Brooklyn, well because as she says in the story, The Ghost of Jia Yi, “Iowa isn’t the kind of place Jamaicans talk about when they talk about America.” The overriding theme of this work is the angst and emotional capriciousness of traversing this land as an immigrant. Although this particular story takes plac...
  • Nicole O
    "How to Love a Jamaican" is the debut collection of short stories authored by Alexia Arthurs. The book's interwoven theme touches upon the experience of first generation, Jamaican-born men and women and their lives in America. The perspectives of each story's narrators are reminiscent of works by Junot Díaz or Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.The books consists of eleven chapters, although the book's penultimate chapter seems to be composed of three dif...
  • Mel
    Although I didn't connect with each story here, there was so much heart in most of the vignettes. The theme that carries throughout is of Jamaican men and women living in America for education, or family, or recently returned to the island (and a more subtle sub-theme of mermaids) and the way the cultures crossed and how the MCs were judged by both other Jamaicans and Americans was especially fascinating. Would definitely be interested in seeing ...
  • Amaka
    Beautiful collection of short stories.
  • Nia Forrester
    This collection of short stories is rich with details of my own experience as someone of Jamaican parentage, who spent the better part of my life growing up, living, and working in the U.S. but still feeling deep emotional connectedness to Jamaica. The details of place, culture, dialect, and food were all spot-on, with never a moment that was false or contrived. As was the detail about the inner lives of Jamaicans living here, or living in Jamaic...
  • Elliott Turner
    Some great stories in here about life in Jamaica, the Jamaican diaspora experience in the US, and life returning to the island after a spell in the states.I loved the Patois codeswitching, and Arthurs writes across gender, age, and sexual orientation very convincingly. My favorite story was about a Lesbian women on vacation in Jamaica whose friends know of her orientation, but are still uncomfortable with it. As someone who grew up in the midwest...
  • Drew
    3.5 out of 5.A solid debut collection with a couple of outstanding stories, plus several that are just fine and dandy but nothing extraordinary. The book opens up with a bang, Arthurs hitting the ground running with an immediately recognizable voice in "Light-Skinned Girls and Kelly Rowlands" -- and "Shirley from a Small Place" is one hell of a closing story, too. I'm a fan of Arthurs, although I'm looking forward to seeing what she does in a nov...
  • Ms. Arca
    I got this as an ARC from NetGalley and ooooo it was more than I expected. Beautiful, raw, relatable, nuanced, full of humanity... There are a few stories I felt were just totally standout (the last one about Shirley surprisingly has stuck with me and I wouldn’t have guessed that), but all of them brought something to the mix. I think the very first story remains my favorite, it’s tremendously done. Alexia writes friendships, and their pushes...
  • Abby Johnson
    These stories about Jamaicans and Jamaican-Americans are full of heart and soul. Each touches on the idea of home in some way - where home is, where home has become, what home means. There is a yearning here, for what's familiar, for what's new. Hand to fans of character-driven stories or readers interested in the theme of immigrant experiences or contemporary Caribbean fiction.
  • Angelia Menchan
    I loved How To Love A Jamaican. Though the foreword said, For Jamaicans and I’m not Jamaican, I saw me and others in the story. I feel it’s relatable to all indigenous humans. The stories were singular yet nuanced with the flavors of a culture of people. There was joy, sorrow and a certain pathos that read real.
  • Zezee
    I don’t read many short story collections. Since starting my blog how many years ago, this is the second short story collection I’ve read. The first one being Things We Lost in the Fire, an unsettling collection of thrilling, gothic stories by Argentine writer Mariana Enriquez, which I read last year and enjoyed.I’ve always assumed that I wouldn’t like short stories because of their short length. But reading these two collections have pro...
  • Ming
    I thank NetGallery and Random House for providing me this advanced reader’s copy for an honest review.This short collection is the author’s debut book and its general description is amply available on GR. As usual, this review will focus on my impression of the book. The strongest and most affecting story was “We Eat Our Daughters.” I liked “Mash-Up Love,” “Bad Behavior,” and “Mermaid River.” (And it was so clear to me that Sh...
  • Lizz
    Short stories like gems, each unique, surprising, showcasing new voice.[I received an ARC from Ballantine Books for my honest review.]See more ten word book reviews at my blog:
  • Laurie
    This lovely set of stories brings to life the Jamaican culture and what happens when immigrants from that culture come to North America- and also when they return to Jamaica. These are tales that touch on race, coming of age, mothers and how controlling they can be, sexuality, assimilation, culture, and more. The characters are brought vividly to life with lush descriptions of food, and the use of patois in conversations (no, it’s not that hard...
  • Diane Payne
    It's rare that I read a short story collection and wish that the story was a novel, but that happened over and over as I read these stories. Who are these brothers and sisters? These mothers? These old lovers? Absent fathers? There was more than a Jamaican connection to the stories, but some of the stories were so damn good, I wanted to turn the pages and keep reading more of about those characters. Perhaps her next book will a novel.
  • Tessa
    "They were of the same generation, the ones who had left the Caribbean as adults for better lives, and they would spend the rest of their years making comparisons, making complaints, but when they thought about it, when they really considered it, every road led to America. They would build retirement homes in Jamaica.""America, the land of diversity, where people talk to who they think it's safest to talk to." There were so many gems in this book...
  • Lindsey Z
    Arthurs’ debut short collection has a lot to offer: with a keen eye for how Jamaicans and Jamaican Americans navigate their often conflicting worlds, she shows off her literary talent through a diversity of points of view, subject matter, and writing style. The collection opens with an epigraph by Kei Miller from his prose poem “The Law Concerning Mermaids,” in which he reflects on the lasting impact that colonialism has had on its victims....
  • Dana Mackey
    Hi from Bowdoin! This is the first advanced read copy that I’ve read / reviewed, so that’s thrilling. How to Love a Jamaican will be released July 24. Because I just finished Lauren Groff’s new collection of short stories, I was hesitant to jump right into another short story collection. I’m glad I did. Alexia Arthurs is impressive. She moved from Jamaica to New York when she was twelve and then graduated from Hunter College. Most recentl...
  • Victoria Wood
    Full Review, Overview and Commentary on my blog - received an electronic, uncorrected proof, advanced readers copy, of Alexia Arthurs’ debut collection “How To Love A Jamaican” from Random House in exchange for my honest and open review.---How To Love A Jamaican is a wonderful collection of stories about the lives of Jamaicans living on the island, and those who have immigrated to the United States....
  • Rosemary Rey
    This remarkable set of short stories is for anyone who has felt out of place or self-conscious of their cultural differences to American culture. This is titled How To Love a Jamaican, but it can be easily attributed to anyone from the Caribbean (both born or descended). As the child of a Caribbean mother and first-generation American, there were many similarities between the Jamaican stories and the cultural morals, values, customs, and preferen...
  • Shea VanKirk
    I received an ARC of this collection through NetGalley. Recently I've been reading short story collections that are more fantastical and speculative. How to Love a Jamaican, which is straight-up literary fiction, was a breath of fresh air for me. The stories were short and filled with characters battling heritage and foreign places. Here is a college student figuring out the mechanics of a friendship with another Jamaican friend. Here is a pop st...