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The story makes insightful use of the mythologies of several West African peoples, and does so from an appealing perspective that employs the storytelling traditions of the region's cultures. With fascinating details of exotic practices and mores, this novel is imaginative, layered, and wise.
Praise for Secrets
"James's prose combines island lilt and savvy minimalism...Secrets is dense with revelations and trials that cannot even be hinted a without ruining the pleasure of this...almost urgently female odyssey." - The New Yorker
Praise for Jumping Ship and Other Stories
"A warm and gifted raconteur." - The New York Times
"Images of raw life, of vicious activity both in nature and in man, intermix the two environments into one swirling vortex." - The Washington Post
Posted September 27, 2009
The lyrical, compelling voice of Trinidadian-born, NYC-based author Kelvin Christopher James swirls and dances through this novel of 19th-century family drama that connects West and North Africa to a Caribbean-bound slave ship.
A sorcerer casts his princely infant nephew, M'nalo, with a spell that spins revenge on others. Adventures, both grand and grueling, sweep the boy along a fascinating, mystical tale.
"The Sorcerer's Drum," infused with tongue-soothing African and Caribbean words -- such as zangala, babawalo, and boubou -- is an eye-opening, jaw-dropping opportunity to step into a past world and learn about exotic practices and beliefs, customs and cultures.
Ride bravely and curiously and enthusiastically upon its captivating beat-beat-beat to discover how and why, as James (who earned a doctorate in science education from Columbia University) writes, this story is "a song of subtle wisdoms and survival."