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Frying Plantain
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Frying Plantain
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Set in the neighbourhood of "Little Jamaica," Frying Plantain follows a girl from elementary school to high school graduation as she navigates the tensions between mothers and daughters,...
Set in the neighbourhood of "Little Jamaica," Frying Plantain follows a girl from elementary school to high school graduation as she navigates the tensions between mothers and daughters,...
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  • Set in the neighbourhood of "Little Jamaica," Frying Plantain follows a girl from elementary school to high school graduation as she navigates the tensions between mothers and daughters, second-generation immigrants experiencing first-generation cultural expectations, and Black identity in a predominantly white society.

    Kara Davis is a girl caught in the middle — of her North American identity and her desire to be a "true" Jamaican, of her mother and grandmother's rages and life lessons, of having to avoid being thought of as too "faas" or too "quiet" or too "bold" or too "soft." In these twelve interconnected stories, we see Kara on a visit to Jamaica, startled by the sight of a severed pig's head in her great-aunt's freezer; in junior high, the victim of a devastating prank by her closest friends; and as a teenager in and out of her grandmother's house, trying to cope with ongoing battles of unyielding authority.

    A rich and unforgettable portrait of growing up between worlds, Frying Plantain shows how, in one charged moment, friendship and love can turn to enmity and hate, well-meaning protection can become control, and teasing play can turn to something much darker.

About the Author-

  • ZALIKA REID-BENTA is a Toronto-based writer whose work has appeared on CBC Books, in TOK: Writing the New Toronto, and in Apogee Journal. In 2011, George Elliott Clarke recommended her as a "Writer to Watch." She received an M.F.A. in fiction from Columbia University in 2014 and is an alumnus of the 2017 Banff Writing Studio. She completed a double major in English Literature and Cinema and a minor in Caribbean Studies at University of Toronto's Victoria College. She also studied Creative Writing at U of T's School of Continuing Studies. She is currently working on a young-adult fantasy novel drawing inspiration from Jamaican folklore and Akan spirituality.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 27, 2020
    In Reid-Benta’s heartfelt debut collection of linked stories, a girl grows up in Toronto while coming to terms with her heritage. On a trip to Jamaica at age 10, Kara screams after finding a pig’s severed head in her great-aunt’s icebox. Back home, she brags to her classmates that she was the one who slaughtered it. Each story introduces a new uncomfortable situation while advancing along the timeline of Kara’s life. In “Snow Day,” Kara tries on a patois (“Yuh run yuh mouth too much”) and receives taunts from her middle school peers for “Ja-fakin’ it.” In “Lovely,” she lands her first job and loses her virginity at 17. In “Celebration,” Kara and her mother, Eloise, get drunk together for the first time on the eve of her high school graduation, while in “Drunk,” she and her friends party harder, leading to Kara throwing up in front of Eloise. Along the way, strong characters emerge, including Eloise, a sharp, overbearing woman who wants nothing more than to see her daughter succeed; and Kara’s churchgoing grandmother, Nana, who shows her affection through cooking for the whole family. Reid-Benta makes good use of the episodic form, artfully blending Kara’s wit and distance with startling vulnerability as she tracks Kara’s thought processes and desires. This heralds a notable new voice.

  • Foreword Reviews Frying Plantain . . . brims with wit and compassion.

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    House of Anansi Press Inc
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