Set in a neighbourhood known as "Little Jamaica," Frying Plantain follows one young girl from elementary school to high school graduation as she navigates the tensions between mothers and daughters, second-generation immigrants and first-generation cultural expectations, and Black identity and predominantly white society.
Kara Davis is a girl caught in the middle -- of her North American identity and her desire to be a "true" Jamaican, of her mother and grandmother's rages and life lessons, of having to avoid being thought of as too "faas" or too "quiet" or too "bold" or too "soft." Set in a neighbourhood known as "Little Jamaica," Kara moves from girlhood to the threshold of adulthood, from elementary school to high school graduation, in these twelve interconnected stories. We see her on a visit to Jamaica, startled by the sight of a severed pig's head in her great-aunt's freezer; in junior high, the victim of a devastating prank by her closest friends; and as a teenager in and out of her grandmother's house, trying to cope with the ongoing battles between her unyielding grandparents.
A rich and unforgettable portrait of growing up between worlds, Frying Plantain shows how, in one charged moment, friendship and love can turn to enmity and hate, well-meaning protection can become control, and teasing play can turn to something much darker.
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About the Author
ZALIKA REID-BENTA is a Toronto-based writer whose debut short story collection, Frying Plantain, was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Frying Plantain was also nominated for the Forest of Reading Evergreen Award presented by the Ontario Library Association; appeared on must-read lists from Bustle, Refinery29, and Chatelaine to the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, and more; and was listed as one of Indigo's Best Books of the Year. Zalika is the winner of the ByBlacks People's Choice Award for Best Author, was the June 2019 Writer in Residence for Open Book, and was named a CBC Writer to Watch. She received an M.F.A. in fiction from Columbia University, was a John Gardner Fiction Fellow at the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and is an alumnus of the Banff Centre Writing Studio. Zalika is currently working on a young-adult fantasy novel drawing inspiration from Jamaican folklore.