Red Jacket

Pamela Mordecai novel was shortlisted for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize in 2015.

Pamela Mordecai

Growing up on the Caribbean island of St. Chris, Grace Carpenter never feels like she really belongs. Although her large, extended family is black, she is a redibo. Her skin is copper-coloured, her hair is red, and her eyes are grey. A neighbour taunts her, calling her "a little red jacket," but the reason for the insult is never explained. Only much later does Grace learn the story of her birth mother and decipher the mystery surrounding her true identity. (From Dundurn Press)

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From the book

Like all children of decent parents in the village, Grace raise in the church. King James Version of the Holy Bible is the first book she ever see, the one book they read every day. Come evening, in their two-room barracks hut, they partake of whatever repast the Lord provide. After that, Ma, Pa, Gramps, and the lot of them listen to the Word, first as read by a grown up, next as reread by one of the children that is sufficiently book-learned to cipher it out. At just past five years of age, Grace can unscramble the longest words, measuring the ancient Hebrew names like shak-shak music on her tongue.

From Red Jacket by Pamela Mordecai ©2015. Published by Dundurn Press.

Author interviews

The Jamaican-Canadian writer talks about her debut novel, and the lively mix of Creole and standard English she uses in her fiction.