“The True History of Paradise” by Margaret Cezair-Thompson in a sense tells the history of Jamaica through the lives and experiences of a fictional character and her family. The book opens in 1981 when political violence tore Jamaica apart and created a state of emergency that resulted in many people fleeing the country. Jean Landing is a young woman of mixed heritage from a financially comfortable and politically connected family. Devastated by the violence that now plagues the country, Jean plans to emigrate to America. When her sister dies right as she prepares to leave, the loss of her family member and beloved country causes her to look back over her life and we also get some insight into the lives of her ancestors.
Tag: <span>historical fiction</span>
“The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man” by James Weldon Johnson is the fictional account of a biracial man looking back over his life. The story is told in the first-person though the narrator remains unnamed and is never described physically. He tells of being born in the South and growing up in Connecticut where he learns that he is a very light-skinned biracial boy who some assume is White. As a young man he sets out on his own and travels to different parts of America and later Europe, recounting his experiences in Black and White society along the way.
A review of “Driving Miss Daisy”, a 1989 dramedy film that was adapted for the big screen from an Alfred Uhry off-Broadway play. The movie is primarily about the life of Daisy Werthan (Jessica Tandy), an incredibly stubborn and rude older woman living in Atlanta. Hoke Colburn (Morgan Freeman) is hired to work as Miss Daisy’s chauffeur in the 1940s and we see moments from their relationship and events of the time over 25 years. The film was nominated for nine Academy Awards and won four.
“Jubilee” by Margaret Walker is a work of historical fiction that primarily tells the life of a biracial enslaved woman. To a degree, this is a generational story as we learn about the life of Vyry, her mother Hetta, and Vyry’s children. But Vyry is the glue that binds the whole story together. Her life spans the antebellum period, the Civil War, and Reconstruction, giving some insight into all three of those periods.
A review of “Dead Presidents”, a 1995 Hughes Brothers film about a young man who serves in the Vietnam War with hopes of charting his path in the world but is instead scarred by the atrocities of war. Drawing on the blaxploitation genre, the movie follows Anthony as he returns home to the Bronx in the early 1970s and struggles to cope with what is likely undiagnosed PTSD. As Anthony faces difficulties finding stable employment and supporting his young family, he is drawn into a heist that could provide him and his friends with life-changing money.