Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean

Title: Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Carribean

Writer: Various edited by Peekash Press

Publishing House: Peekash Press

Date of Publication:  March 17th 2014

Rating: 5 stars

‘’Here in the rocky haunts of the islanders themselves are landscapes where ‘’the rocks are sharper than a coconut vendor’s cutlass, and the waters lash with a vengeance,’’ landscapes of swollen gullies and bush where monkeys can hide, where beauty and violence compete in scorpionfish and stingrays and captured, gutted shark. There are also the landscapes where lash fruit falls to the ground with the ease of summer ripening, where the clash of dominoes in the run shop provides the familiar auditory signal of men at play, and where preachers get the urge to go into the streets and warn of coming tribulations even as gunshots spatter.’’

The Whale House by Sharon Millar (Trinidad & Tobago): A beautiful, sad story about the immense pain of losing a child.

The Science of Salvation by Dwight Thompson (Jamaica): An ex-convict returns and wreaks havoc to a community plagued by gang wars in a haunting, tragic story.

Cheque Mate by Kevin Baldeosingh (Trinidad & Tobago): An affluent woman exacts her revenge on a man who wanted to buy her silence in an almost twisted game of power. Undoubtedly seductive this one…

The Thing We Call Love by Ivory Kelly (Belize): A ten-year-old girl witnesses the love troubles of her community.

A Good Friday by Barbara Jenkins (Trinidad & Tobago): Well, if that isn’t love at first sight…

All the Secret Things No One Ever Knows by Sharon Leach (Jamaica): This story is all kinds of twisted, disturbed and disturbing and haunting. I don’t agree with trigger warnings because we are all intelligent, grown-up readers but this one contains every possible trigger alert you can think of. I loved it.

‘’There’s no such thing as water under the bridge. Forgive and forget is just something pipe-dream losers, helpless victims, hang onto because they’re unable – or unwilling – to do anything else.’’

Amelia at Devil’s Bridge by Joanne C. Hillhouse (Antigua & Barbuda): The spirit of a dead girl screams in desperation in a story that will make you shiver.

Waywardness by Ezekel Alan (Jamaica): The story of a criminal with commentary on sexuality, identity, and violence. This one managed to make me uncomfortable.

And the Virgin’s Name Was Leah by Heather Barker (Barbados): A strange fusion of the Old and New Testament, of the Biblical era and our contemporary times, of Israel and Barbados produce a striking story about mental health, family and hope.

Mango Summer by Janice Lynn Mather (Bahamas): A small community is being plagued by the disappearance of young girls. Seen through the eyes of a girl’s younger sister, this is a haunting, cryptic tale in which the line between reality and myth is heavily blurred.

Berry by Kimmisha Thomas (Jamaica): A tender story of desperate love and the prejudices of a macho community.

The Monkey Trap by Kevin Jared Hosein (Trinidad & Tobago): I am sorry to say that this one was disgusting…

Father, Father by Garfield Ellis (Jamaica): In a bitter story, a boy remembers his father as he’s trying to cope with abuse.

‘’On an island nobody ever really, truly disappears without a trace. No, what we have here are bodies: a woman found in the bushes in All Saints, a tourist slain at Darkwood, a girl washed up at Devil’s Bridge…

 They’re few and far between. That’s why they make the news because it always kind of shakes us up that there might be someone among us who could do such a thing.

 But there are no places to hide bodies, nowhere where they won’t eventually reveal themselves.’’