Monday, August 23, 2010

A Novel With Jamaican Patois

Blue Moutain Trouble by Martin Mordecai

This is the story of 11 yr old twins Pollyread and Jackson Gilmore. The Gilmore family lives in a village, located in Top Valley. The twins and the rest of the 6th graders are waiting on the result exam that will determine where they will go to school next year.

On there way to school Pollyread and Jackson spot a magical goat that appears out of nowhere.

The twins could only see a huge head, with a billowing beard and horns like they had never before seen, on a goat or any other creature. It was like a mask, of a size that would've had a body as big as a minibus carrying it. Unsupported, it floated next to a big round rock - just where they would walk. The twins stopped dead. There was no way around it. The goat's eyes pinned them, flashing dark fire. The eyes seemed sightless but seeing everything too, down into the very darkest corners of their terror.

Mordecai give us a wonderful look into the Pollyread and Jackson's world. The author was born and raised in Jamaica, and that shines through on every page, from the patois dialect to the stories rhythm. When I read a lyrical novel such as this, I am happily reminded that words can read like music. I absolutely loved it.

Right from the beginning, I knew this was a novel I wouldn't forget anytime soon.
"For Pollyread and Jackson, walking down to school around the same time each morning was the same and slightly different. The twins lived in Top Valley, a village high in the Blue Mountains. "On God shoulder," Mama said. Mornings sometimes, when cloud and mist were all around, there you'd be on God's shoulder and you couldn't see his face or his feet. They looked down the path they were walking, and where a moment ago there was Stedman's Corner and Marcus Garvey Primary, then Cross Point, then Cuthbert Bank and Content Gap, in steps that a drunk giant might take to the hazyblue sea far below - now all of a sudden there was only cloud thick as Mama's soup slicking the grass and stones with moisture and making the path where they walked all their life mysterious and new, and sometimes dangerous."

Blue Mountain Trouble is one of the best 2009 debut's that I missed. Its so well written and such a pleasure to read. One of the things I loved and appreciated - the author's voice is loud and clear throughout. I don't often talk about editors or publishers this is not one of those times.

Blue Mountain Trouble would make a wonderful boy/girl book club selection. ages 10up. It was shortlisted for the Canadian Library Assiocation's (CLA) 2010 Book of the Year Award for Children.


MissAttitude said...

I wanted to read this book and then I forgot about it. lol. I love that line about living on God's shoulder and sometimes not being able to see his feet or face.

I'm gald to see some Caribbean literature is being published in the U.S.

Doret said...

Ari this is really good. Its not often you see patois in middle grade fiction