Dominoes at the Crossroads
In Dominoes at the Crossroads, Kaie Kellough maps an alternate nation — one populated by Caribbean Canadians who hopscotch across the country. The characters navigate race, class, and coming-of-age. Seeking opportunity, some fade into the world around them, even as their minds hitchhike, dream, and soar. Some appear in different times and hemispheres, whether as student radicals, secret agents, historians, fugitive slaves, or jazz musicians.
From the cobblestones of Montreal's Old Port through the foliage of a South American rainforest; from a basement in wartime Paris to a metro in Montréal during the October Crisis; Kellough's fierce imagination reconciles the personal and ancestral experience with the present moment, grappling with the abiding feeling of being elsewhere, even when here. (From Esplanade Books)
Dominoes at the Crossroads was on the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist.
Kaie Kellough is a writer based in Montreal. His novel Accordéon was a finalist for the Amazon Canada First Novel Award in 2017. He is also the author of the poetry collection Magnetic Equator, which won the 2020 Griffin Poetry Prize.
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My grandparents, my mom's parents, immigrated to Canada from Guyana, South America in their 50s. My mom had come to Canada a number of years before that to study and then all her siblings came as well. My mom's parents' house in Canada had Guyanese food cooking. There were pictures and maps of Guyana. There were books by Guyanese authors. Guyana was something that was discussed. It was real, it was an important presence.
It was like growing up with an awareness that a person like you has a place elsewhere, you're not just from here.- Kaie Kellough
It was also a magical place that was, I think for my grandparents, frozen in time. It was very different from Vancouver or Calgary, the cities where I grew up. It was like growing up with an awareness that a person like you has a place elsewhere, you're not just from here. There is this entire set of Indigenous mythologies, various histories of various groups — Portuguese, African, Chinese — that inform your lineage in your presence and your existence. It's through them that I have the connection and awareness of thinking about how fascinating Guyana is.