Synopses & Reviews
Named the Dolman Travel Book of the Year, The Dead Yard
paints an unforgettable portrait of modern Jamaica. Since independence, Jamaica has gradually become associated with twin images--a resort-style travel Eden for foreigners and a new kind of hell for Jamaicans, a society where gangs control the areas where most Jamaicans live and drug lords like Christopher Coke rule elites and the poor alike.
Ian Thomson's brave book explores a country of lost promise, where America's hunger for drugs fuels a dependent economy and shadowy politics. The lauded birthplace of reggae and Bob Marley, Jamaica is now sunk in corruption and hopelessness. A synthesis of vital history and unflinching reportage, The Dead Yard is "a fascinating account of a beautiful, treacherous country" (Irish Times).
"Journalist Thomson (Bonjour Blanc) offers a portrait of contemporary Jamaica beyond the clichÃ©s of 'golden beaches and guns, guns, guns.' Thomson spoke to Jamaicans from all strata of society: white Jamaicans, beneficiaries of fortunes built on slave labor, now hiding in their crumbling plantation mansions, terrified of the encroaching violence; Rastafarians and Maroons; rabbis and priests; tired bureaucrats and armed youths; Indian and Chinese shopkeepers; the musicians and producers that have exported Jamaican music all over the globe. At times the book is overcrowded with characters and lacks a cohesive argument, but the elegant capsule histories of major figures and events ground the interviews in context. What emerges is a portrait of a country haunted by its colonial past, still trying to define itself apart from the two imperial powers (U.S. and British) that have shaped it thus far, and of a diverse people who struggle to hold on to their hope for a brighter future. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Ian Thomson is the author of Primo Levi, which won the Royal Society of Literature's W. H. Heinemann Award in 2003. He lives in London.