Thanks to my great friend Mary Ann Gosser-Esquilín (Florida Atlantic University) I now have my very own copy of Barbara Lalla’s Grounds for Tenure (2017) and it is indeed on my nightstand. She purchased it right from the launch at the 36th Annual West Indian Literature Conference, which I am sad to have missed. [Thanks Mary Ann, for my early birthday gift!]
Description: A gifted young scholar clings desperately to part-time employment at a Caribbean university. Then, a post opens up on an unknown offshore campus in Portmore, Jamaica. Into this harsh yet delicate terrain ventures Candace Clarke, bent on taking root in an academic world. As her relationship with her dysfunctional father grows more fraught, she draws comfort from her longstanding friend, Randall (a medievalist and would-be novelist), and she confides in him about her troubled past and bewildering present. Around her, insecurity and absurdity prompt malice, panic and redeeming wit. Alongside the lighter moments of college life, Grounds for Tenure discloses the diverse cravings of the ultra-smart and unexpectedly foolish, as well as their self-absorption and bottomless generosity. This tale of inner and outer landscapes marks a new departure in Caribbean fiction. Humorous, critical and compassionate, Barbara Lalla turns her keen gaze to the habitats for rising intellectuals in the Caribbean world of letters.
Barbara Lalla is Professor Emerita, Language and Literature, the University of the West Indies-St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago. In addition to the novels Uncle Brother, Cascade, and Arch of Fire, she is the author of numerous scholarly works, including Postcolonialisms: Caribbean Rereading of Medieval English Discourse, Defining Jamaican Fiction: Marronage and the Discourse of Survival, the companion volumes Language in Exile: Three Hundred Years of Jamaican Creole, and Voices in Exile: Jamaican Texts of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries (co-authored with Jean D’Costa), and Caribbean Literary Discourse (co-authored with Jean D’Costa and Velma Pollard).
For more information, see https://www.amazon.com/Grounds-Tenure-Barbara-Lalla/dp/9766406219