She's Gone (Macmillan Caribbean Writers) Paperback – 30 May 2008
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"In this book, Dawes captures Jamaica perfectly: the sights, sounds, colours, inequalities and lifestyle..." --The Vine<br /><br />"In summary, it all sounds simple enough, but the detailed intricacy of the plot and Dawes' sheer writing skill make it anything but ... She's Gone is a human tale, with all the attendant foibles, much like a song that is never the same as it was recorded in the studio. It may be better, it may be worse. In this case it is better." --Mel Cook, The Sunday Gleaner
"She's Gone is dark and rich and sweet, like meat close to the bone. Dawes writes from the heart, with tears and laughter, and his work reads like blank verse ... In his first novel, She's Gone, he is scratching a riff to suit his mood." --Book Group Info (Recommended Read)
About the Author
Kwame Dawes is an award-winning Ghanian-born Jamaican author of several books of poetry, non-fiction, and fiction. He teaches at the University of South Carolina, where he is Distinguished Poet in Residence and director of the USC Arts Institute and the South Carolina Poetry Initiative. Dawes is the programmer for the annual Jamaican Calabash International Literary Festival.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
It's a hard read when you don't like the main charcter's personality. She's Gone is the perfect title. Started off great; ended lack luster. However there are some paragrahps that generalize ethich groups within the book.
the sparked some heated dommentary at the meeting.
Kofi, a Jamaican reggae musician is on tour with his band, after a long absence. The self-proclaimed next Bob Marley is at his best, writing songs and thrilling audiences on their U. S. tour. Keisha, a social researcher, back home in Columbia, South Carolina after living in New York, comes to the club and is seduced by the music and the man. Kofi continues on tour and Keisha makes the bold move to come to one of his appearances in New York where the connection is undeniable. Keisha takes a chance and goes home to Kingston with Kofi--where all is revealed.
Jamaica proves to be a study in contrasts. There are the green mountains and poverty of Spanish Town, the violence on the streets of Kingston, and the elite Jamaican society of Ocho Rios. The class divisions, the colorism, the condescending manner of some Jamaicans toward Black Americans, all paint a picture of how these dynamics, while emphasizing differences, at the same time juxtapose the proximity of Kofi's Jamaica and Keisha's coastal Carolina home.
Love means taking the bad with the good; sometimes love means exposing demons and skeletons that lovers may want to keep in the closet. Do you stay and tough it out or do you cut your losses and run? Kofi and Keisha are both forced to explore the past in order to go forward with the future. Kofi's prolonged silences and his withdrawal from her cause Keisha to seek the reasons why while confronting her dark past. Both grew up without their mothers and have been damaged and marked by it. And both were raised by strong, formidable women, Kofi's aunt Josephine and Keisha's aunt Rose who protected them as well as enabled them.
Dawes, one of the founders of the Calabash Literary Festival, held annually in Jamaica, made an appearance, along with Colin Channer (also a Calabash co-founder), at Marcus Book Store in Oakland this past June. I was immediately drawn into his reading; part song, part poetry, with the cadence of the patois. The language of the prose is fluid, rhythmic and essentially dances off the page with a reggae beat. All while I was reading this novel, I played Sade's CD, Lover's Rock and the first song, "By My Side" stayed in my head continuously, long after I finished. Dawes takes readers on a timeless journey and sets you in a sense of place, whether it is in the swamps of South Carolina, the slums of Kingston, the upper middle-class hills of Ocho Rios or the night life of New York City. Kwame said this story bridges the Southern states and Jamaica, meshes the two cultures and ties them to the Diaspora. Keisha talked about collecting great moments of beauty and grace. This book was a great reading experience that leaves an indelible imprint in my collection of great moments, letting me know that wonderful books are still being written.