SX Salon

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Brother, by David Chariandy

• February 2019

David Chariandy has had an incredible year and a half since the publication of his second novel, Brother (2017). The accolades and awards for Brother continue to roll in, even as his third book—the slim memoir I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You: A Letter to My Daughter (2018)—gradually claims its own ground in literary circles. His first novel, Soucouyant, published in 2007, was set in Scarborough, Ontario, and tells the story of a mother’s decline into dementia. Brother is also set in Scarborough and chronicles the aftermath of violent loss. The narrators of both novels are haunted by the elsewhere of their parents’ pasts in Trinidad and the dangers and discomforts of being othered in Canada. For this issue, sx salon gathered a few voices from Canada and the Caribbean to discuss multiple dimensions of Chariandy’s second novel.

In “‘That Body Always Just a Skin Away’: Brotherly Love and the Intimacies of Men in David Chariandy’s Brother,” Michael A. Bucknor explores the intricacies of homosocial spaces in the novel, considering also the Caribbean tropes of masculinity that travel to and in diasporic spaces. In “Harden,” DJ and Afrosonic scholar Mark V. Campbell traces the aural ways that Chariandy’s “refusal of linearity and embrace of an intergenerational remix scores a new narrative of the children of the Caribbean diaspora.” And in “Complicated Mourning: Memory and Nostalgia in Brother,” Camille Isaacs troubles the lines between nostalgia, sentiment, and survival in the novel, identifying objects and places through which a dislocated people attempt to root their histories and insist their presence. In the aptly titled “The Acknowledgments,” Chariandy gracefully responds to these varied approaches, positioning Bucknor, Campbell, and Isaacs within a network of writers and critics articulating the “aesthetic and cultural kinships” of Caribbean and black Canadian life.

Also in this issue, Sonya Donaldson reviews Isles of Noise: Sonic Media in the Caribbean, by Alejandra Bronfman; Saudi Garcia reviews The Borders of Dominicanidad: Race, Nation, and the Archives of Contradiction, by Lorgia García-Peña; Justin Rogers-Cooper reviews The Black Jacobins Reader, edited by Charles Forsdick and Christian Høgsbjerg; and Eric J. Disbro reviews Erotic Islands: Art and Activism in the Queer Caribbean, by Lyndon K. Gill. In our Poetry and Prose section, we carry a short but striking story by Kim Robinson-Walcott and innovative new poetry from Ana Portnoy Brimmer, Vincent Toro, and Raquel Salas Rivera.

We hope you enjoy reading.

Kelly Baker Josephs

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Table of Contents

Introduction and Table of Contents—Kelly Baker Josephs

Reviews

The Politics of Sound—Sonya Donaldson
Alejandra Bronfman, Isles of Noise: Sonic Media in the Caribbean (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2016)

Living Contra-Dictions: Exploring the Racial Ontology of Hispaniola/Kiskeya/Ayiti—Saudi Garcia
Lorgia García-Peña, The Borders of Dominicanidad: Race, Nation and the Archives of Contradiction (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2016)

The Lives and Afterlives of The Black Jacobins—Justin Rogers-Cooper
Charles Forsdick and Christian Høgsbjerg, eds., The Black Jacobins Reader (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2017)

Mapping the Political-Sensual-Spiritual Potential of the Lordean Erotic—Eric J. Disbro
Lyndon K. Gill, Erotic Islands: Art and Activism in the Queer Caribbean (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2018)

DiscussionBrother, by David Chariandy

“That Body Always Just a Skin Away”: Brotherly Love and the Intimacies of Men in David Chariandy’s Brother—Michael A. Bucknor

Harden—Mark V. Campbell

Complicated Mourning:  Memory and Nostalgia in Brother—Camille Isaacs

The Acknowledgments—David Chariandy

Prose

Pretty Gyal—Kim Robinson-Walcott

Poetry

Ana Portnoy Brimmer
Vincent Toro
Raquel Salas Rivera

 

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