This book is extremely my jam. It was weird, original, uncanny, funny, sad, and magical.
Reading this book gave me the same feeling I had when I first read One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I say that not to compare the two authors and those stories, but to showcase how the best authors know how to strike that balance between the fantastical and human. They’re able to create these beautifully imagined worlds and highlight something special about what it is to love and grieve. They have us ruminating on what success actually means and what it feels like to reflect on our failures.
Set on an island called Popisho, which is heavily influenced by Jamacain culture (where Ross grew up), you can tell there is such love for these characters and the community, I felt wrapped up in the island’s warmth throughout my whole read. But this is more than just a beautiful, magical island, of course. Wealthy men hold most of the political power, although women are largely in charge of helping people navigate their cors, or magical powers. The cors are as imaginative as you can get, from a woman with four hearts distributed throughout her body or the ability to know when someone is telling a lie. Xavier Redchoose, the protagonist, makes the best meal you will ever have in your life that is unique to you, and the chosen macaenus does not serve the Indigenous or poor population (please see author comment below: not Bc he doesn’t want to, but Bc of their own principles!!). He is grieving his wife who died by suicide and trying to overcome his addiction to moths that get you high in different ways depending on which kind you eat. This is definitely a book I hugged close to my chest when I was finished and immediately passed off for someone else to enjoy. Please note it is called ONE SKY DAY in the UK.
[ID: The book POPISHO by Leonne Ross resting on a wooden dock over dark green, blue water.]