“Jacob Ross, the Caribbean Chekov”—A Review by Keith Jardim


Keith Jardim reviews Grenada-born writer Jacob Ross’s new book, Tell No One about This: Collected Stories 1975-2017, for Trinidad and Tobago’s Newsday. In his conclusion, he writes, “Tell everyone about this book. Run through Port of Spain screaming the author’s name and the title. And then go and plant trees in Grenada.” Here are excerpts from this witty review:

Jacob Ross’s recently published Tell No One About This: Collected Stories 1975-2017 is probably the most important and well written gathering of stories ever to appear in the English-language Caribbean, maybe in any language here. I would even dare to say it’s one of the best story collections in the Commonwealth.

Thank the gods Ross listened to Olive Senior, Jeremy Poynting and Bernadine Evaristo and put together this book. Senior had to glue him to a chair for long discussions, but he paid attention finally. There’s a total of 29 stories, divided into four sections: Dark, Dust, Oceans, and Flight. There isn’t a single weak story; most of them jolt you with their power.

And Ross’s range and art are impressive, masterful, a nod to and steps away from or above the Russian short-story genius Anton Chekov, a writer largely credited with inventing the modern short story. From children to women and the elderly to, of course, the ever-popular Caribbean man, floundering in impotence and corruption, bacchanal and abuse, we witness the region’s every change, especially Grenada’s (where Ross is from).

Ross, who was at the 2018 Bocas Lit Fest and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, was mostly raised by women, and their wisdom and craftiness, their beauty and wickedness are all here. [. . .]

Keith Jardim is the author of Near Open Water, a collection of stories. He will resume teaching fiction workshops at the Naipaul House in late September.

For full article, see https://newsday.co.tt/2018/07/08/jacob-ross-the-caribbean-chekov/ [First accessed via https://www.facebook.com/peepaltreepress/.]

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