February 23, 2007

The Top Ten Caribbean Novels

Geoffrey Philp

Another meme about books and ranking has been making its way around the blogosphere, so to put a Caribbean twist on the meme, here are my Top Ten Caribbean Novels:

10. In the Castle of My Skin (Ann Arbor Paperbacks) by George Lamming

9. The Dragon Can't Dance by Earl Lovelace

8. Brother Man (Caribbean Writers Series; 10) by Roger Mais

7. The Duppy (Anthony C. Winkler Collection) by Anthony C. Winkler

6. The Dew Breaker (Today Show Book Club #23) by Edwidge Danticat.

5. Children of Sisyphus (Longman Caribbean Writers Series) by Orlando Patterson

4. Divina Trace by Robert Antoni.

3. The Palace of the Peacock by Wilson Harris

2. A House for Mr. Biswas by V.S. Naipaul. See also Miguel Street.

1. Love in the Time of Cholera (Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century) by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

This was taken from my Amazon Listmania. Here’s the link: http://www.amazon.com/Top-Ten-Caribbean-Novels/lm/28E6LYTCZGX1X/ref=cm_lm_byauthor_title_full/105-1897478-8201203

I know this is going to generate all kinds of heat, but that’s what happens when you make a list. Tell me what you think, nuh?




Marlon James said...


Great list, my reservations about Roger Mais notwithstanding. I'm also glad that you've agreed with what Marquez have always said, that he is a Caribbean writer. As for Mais, I would have kicked him out and put Infante's Three trapped Tigers.

Geoffrey Philp said...

Infante, is definitely there and so is Masters of the Dew.
The top five are pretty constant and the rest of them shift around.

Thanks for the comment


Jdid said...

I never really got Dragon cant dance for some reason. I much more prefer Lovelace's Salt.

Geoffrey Philp said...

I loved Salt too. Like I said this is not a fixed list. In fact, I changed the choice on Edwidge from Breath,Eyes, Memory.

eemanee said...

My favourites are Love in the Time of Colera, Children of Sisyphus, Breath, Eyes, Memory and Miguel Street.

Somehow i could never finish A House for Mr Biswas.

Children of Sisyphus is out of print and i wish i had treated my copy with better care.

i'd put Wide Sargasso Sea in the top 10 too.

Geoffrey Philp said...

eemanee, Breath, Eyes, Memory was there until Edwidge wrote The Dew Breaker.

I have a battered copy of Children of Sisyphus.

I never could get into Wide Sargasso Sea

Thanks for contributing to the discussion. I should run a poll someday...hmmm

Should I?

Marlon James said...

I think you SHOULD run a poll. WHy should New York Times have all the fun?

Marlon James said...

I'm serious by the way

Geoffrey Philp said...

I'll run it--starting tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

This is such an education. A rediscovery if you will for a newly formed bookclub.

Thanks for the books, be assured a number of readers of Caribbean descent in the UK will be digesting these books over the newxt few months.

Geoffrey Philp said...

David, this is good news. The post has done its work which is to stimulate discussion. This is great!

Joanne Gail Johnson said...

Did you actually read Antoni's Divina Trace? sorry nothing there for me.
what of Mystic Msseur, Miguel Street - how to choose?

Top Ten implies classic - but there are new voices
and female ones that are just that - what of:

Small Island Andrea Levy
Black Rock Amanda Smyth
White Woman on a Green Bicylce Monique Roffey

Geoffrey Philp said...

This was published in 2007 and, yes, I did read Divina Trace.