Debut Speculative Fiction Novel Amplifies Caribbean Stories and Spaces with a Fresh Voice

From the publisher:

Afro-Barbadian American writer Rachelle J. Gray’s novel “Kingstown Burning” is a literary social commentary told through the lens of a contemporary cast of Caribbean characters of Rastafari faith, who brave the choppy realities that a new economic order brings into their world.

 Loyalty, community, and the rise of current social and political issues affecting outlier communities are explosive companions in ‘Kingstown Burning” – the debut novel of Afro-Barbadian American writer Rachelle J. Gray. Available in paperback (ISBN 978-1-7350795-1-6, 188 pages, $12.99) and ebook editions on Amazon and online platforms wherever books are sold, “Kingstown Burning,” which is set in the southern Caribbean between the islands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) and Barbados, manages in a relatively compact story to explore religion, politics, folklore, friendship, romance, perseverance, and revenge.

“The Caribbean is known for rum, reggae, and carnival, but there is more to us than that. We are a diverse lot. Through ‘Kingstown Burning,’ readers are introduced to a lesser-known yet valuable part of the ongoing Caribbean narrative. The story is universal. The perspective, fresh,” Gray explained.

In “Kingstown Burning,” three women inadvertently find themselves caught in the crossfire of a brewing rivalry. Someone is keeping a secret. Another is about to unearth a truth. To get their lives back, they seek the help of an Obeah Man and embark upon a quest that moves along a mystical timeline in a tropical paradise. Both Rastafari livity and Obeah are considered taboo in the Caribbean, yet “Kingstown Burning” taps the two Afro-Caribbean spiritualities to spin a never-before-told tale.

“I wanted to look at Caribbean life from a perspective driven by self-determination and autonomy. Rastafari embodies that. What does it sound like to tell a story from the lion’s perspective, where Rastafari is more than a one-dimensional character or side note in someone’s book, and the mysticism of Obeah is elevated to the realm of high science? ‘Kingstown Burning’ chronicles an intermingling of Caribbean cultures that have yet to be explored in this manner. Most notably because the protagonist is from these ‘taboo’ cultures, readers experience how that impacts both the telling and reception of the story.”

About the Author
Rachelle J. Gray is an Afro-Barbadian American communications specialist, creative consultant, writer, and founder of LadyGray Publishing. Her short story Sativa made the longlist of the 2021 Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival Elizabeth Nunez Award. A mother of one, and an auntie to many, Rachelle enjoys a good laugh and a spicy story. Living and working between Florida, Barbados, and Senegal, Kingstown Burning is her debut novel.

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