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Free

by MORDECAI, MARTIN

Martin Mordecai’s Free is a lyrical yet unflinching examination of the ruinous intimacies sustained by and sustaining plantation slavery. Set around Jamaica’s Christmas Rebellion of 1831–32 and framed around three characters who are free themselves, but hedged in by the oppressive protocols of slavery, Free is an extended meditation on violence, memory, community, love and forgiveness. Mordecai uses the ranges and registers of the creole continuum to seduce readers into a wrenching engagement with the deformation wrought by slavery upon everyone and everything it touched.

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Comments

“In Jamaican parlance, a ‘freeness’ is an act of generosity, freely given. Martin Mordecai’s novel Free, then, is aptly named. . . . It is an astounding act of remembrance, incorporating the diverse races, histories, languages and realities that were creolized to make the Caribbean what it is today . . . a tour de force of historical fiction, a passionate and vital story told by those whose words are so often silenced: the survivors. It is as rich and dark as Caribbean plum cake, as complex in flavours, each ingredient as troubled in provenance, yet in combination a Jamaica to have so clear an impact.”

Reviews: Nalo Hopkinson, author of The Salt Roads

“In Free, history comes alive in the hands of a master prose stylist and a meticulous researcher. Martin Mordecai’s brilliant

evocation of people, places and events makes us eyewitnesses to Jamaica’s Christmas Rebellion, a daring act of liberation by enslaved African Jamaicans that would hasten the end of chattel slavery in the British colonies. Generations to come will thank Mordecai for enabling us to see with new eyes the people— masters and enslaved—and their shared world of inhumanity that had to be destroyed.”

Reviews: Olive Senior, author of The Encyclopaedia of Jamaican Heritage

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