sx salon 28

June 2018

General Review Issue

Although home may be vulnerable, it is also beautifully resilient. The voice of our literature declares that in spite of disasters, this people and this place shall not be wholly destroyed.
— Karen Lord

Between mass media reports and social media reporting on the vulnerabilities and disasters of global proportions today, it is difficult to believe that literature, and literature about literature, still deserves our energy and attention. In the midst of the dire need for action that eases human suffering, one might ask, What is the point of reading speculative fiction? Or analyzing discourses of race and sexuality in the nineteenth century? This issue of sx salon does not set out to answer such questions—perhaps there are no definitive answers—but rather to offer evidence that this work exists, persists, and resists with an astonishing breadth and depth of imagination and analysis.

In this issue, we publish an extended reviews section. As such, we offer a snapshot of the myriad ways Caribbean communities have visioned, and continue reflecting on, ourselves and our worlds. From the ingenuity of fictive prose and the noteworthy efforts of translators and editors in making these visions available across linguistic—often colonial—divides, to the histories of US military and financial “interventions” in the region, these reviews of recent publications span the efforts of writers and scholars to tell our stories, all our stories. Together, these reviews indicate that in tandem with the lightning responses and the repeated, retweeted headlines of the twenty-four-hour news cycle, there remains an insistent imagination of another possible world. These writers demand we ask how we can learn from our histories and how we might realize different futures.

Alongside these reviews, in this issue we publish original poetry from Jacqueline Bishop and Brandon O’Brien, as well as an innovative interview with the ever-interesting Shivanee Ramlochan (please see her recent series “Here for the Unicorn Blood” for another way literature simultaneously offers safe space and nurtures revolution in the face of perilous inequity). Across the reviews, poetry, and interview, there is evidence of Caribbean humor and love, of our anger and strife; above all, there is evidence that our current moment is, unfortunately, not new and has roots in the histories of unequal forces of power at work in the discourses of dehumanization that have worked to reinforce the unequal structures of global power. We continue to write, read, and review the Caribbean because our hope is that in these words also lies the roots of interrupting the repetition.

Kelly Baker Josephs


Table of Contents

Introduction and Table of Contents—Kelly Baker Josephs

Fiction Reviews

Women, Translation, and the Haitian Revolution—Siobhan Marie Meï
Marie Vieux-Chauvet, Dance on the Volcano, trans. Kaiama L. Glover (Archipelago, 2016)

Empire, Independence, and the Future—Camille Alexander
Earl Lovelace and Robert Antoni, eds., Trinidad Noir: The Classics (Akashic, 2017)

Speculating the Caribbean—Jarrel De Matas
Karen Lord, ed., New Worlds, Old Ways: Speculative Tales of the Caribbean (Peekash, 2016)

A Road Cut through the Heart of the Caribbean—Rachel L. Mordecai
John Hearne, John Hearne’s Short Fiction, ed. Shivaun Hearne (University of the West Indies Press, 2016)

Dark Tales of Two Cities: San Juan de aquí, San Juan de allá—Laëtitia Saint-Loubert
Mayra Santos-Febres, ed.  San Juan Noir (Spanish edition), trans. Alfredo Álvarez Nieves (Akashic, 2016)
Mayra Santos-Febres, ed., San Juan Noir (English edition), trans. Will Vanderhyden (Akashic, 2016)

Balm in the Horizon, Bounty in Ourselves—Suzette Spencer
Opal Palmer Adisa, Love’s Promise: Stories (Plumeria, 2016)

Nonfiction Reviews

The Comet and the CrisisMary Grace Albanese
Peter James Hudson, Bankers and Empire: How Wall Street Colonized the Caribbean (University of Chicago Press, 2017)

The “Rhetorical Oppositionality of ‘Black’ and ‘Jew,’” or The Complexities of Noncompetitive Memory—Alessandra Benedicty-Kokken
Sarah Phillips Casteel, Calypso Jews: Jewishness in the Caribbean Literary Imagination (Columbia University Press, 2016)

Locating Corporeality in Another Corpus: The Creole Woman in French Caribbean Discourses—Jason Hong
Jacqueline Couti, Dangerous Creole Liaisons: Sexuality and Nationalism in French Caribbean Discourses from 1806 to 1897 (Liverpool University Press, 2016)

The 1914 US Occupation of Haiti and the Struggle for Caribbean Sovereignty—F. Joseph Sepulveda
Raphael Dalleo, American Imperialism’s Undead: The Occupation of Haiti and the Rise of Caribbean Anticolonialism (University of Virginia Press, 2016)

Maryse Condé Speaks: The Death of Negritude and Other Life Lessons—Jonathon Repinecz
Françoise Pfaff, Nouveaux entretiens avec Maryse Condé, écrivain et témoin de son temps (Karthala, 2016)


Brandon O’Brien
Jacqueline Bishop


A Memorable Menagerie: Anu Lakhan (sort of) in Conversation with Shivanee Ramlochan


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