The Marvellous Equations of the Dread: A Novel in Bass Riddim

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Product Details

$16.95  $15.76
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publish Date
5.3 X 7.9 X 0.8 inches | 0.7 pounds

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About the Author

Marcia Douglas has been an elementary school teacher for 30+ years of her life. She grew up in the small town of Ft. Bragg, CA, on the rugged, northern California coast, went to college, and then came back to teach at home. The railroad has been part of her life and the fabric of the town for over a century.Recently, she started making art quilts as a hobby and donated her "Super Skunk" quilt to the railroad. As she walked around the gift shop, she noticed there were no storybooks for children about how the steam train became a reality. So, she casually asked if she could write one. The "Chief Skunk"consented and encouraged her to do so.After interviewing her friends who had worked on the train and also knowing their children and their grandchildren, Marcia created this charming fictional story, based on actual experiences they had had working for the railroad in an effort to preserve some of the fascinating tales she heard them tell.Marcia and her husband, Paul, an architect, have three grown children and still live in Mendocino. She smiles as she hears the train whistle every day as it begins its delightful journey. Cady Motherwell was born and raised in Fort Bragg and began exploring all styles of cartoon art at a very young age. She says she derives most of her inspiration from animation and video game design, particularly anime.As a child, Cady used to ride the Skunk Train with her sister and grandparents. They would hop off about halfway on its route to picnic and swim in the river all day and then later, they would catch a ride home on its return trip. It is a cherished childhood memory for Cady so creating the art for this book was the perfect opportunity to highlight some of the history of her beloved Skunk train.Cady has also illustrated other children's books, one featuring the beginning letters of the alphabet, and the other introducing numbers.She hopes to continue her artistic career in years to come.


A vast panorama of a small corner of Kingston, a musical novel where the music is reggae, a historical documentary set in the present: As the illustrious and anonymous living and dead materialize to reenact, retell, and undo their life stories, it's impossible to resist reading these voices out loud, adding your own to this orchestrated hubbub.--Eliot Weinberger
A lyrical convocation of reggae, roots healing, the history of Half Way Tree, of duppies and fearsome body-swapping, of dangerous youthmen and deliberate revolution--here is prose steeped deep in portents, parables, and a profusion of signs. Marcia Douglas lets the sounds fall from on high, in prose that chants down Babylon and confirms the coming, sweeter than can be reckoned, of Zion.-- "Caribbean Beat"
Marcia Douglas's book is as marvellous as its title - one of the most stunning new works of Jamaican fiction I have had the pleasure of reading. The novel that is not unlike the island that it tries to capture - as musical as it is brutal, and here is writing as full of poetic heft as it is of narrative drive; even as you want to linger and relish in the language, the novel demands that you turn the page.-- "Kei Miller"
The spirit of Bob Marley dominates this novel, which evokes the rich, bottom-heavy sounds of Marley's music. You can't tell the living and the dead here without a score card, and a score card would be too linear... Think of this book as a haunted island with spectral voices and inscrutable mysteries.-- "Kirkus" (4/16/2018 12:00:00 AM)
The Marvellous Equations of the Dread: A Novel in Bass Riddim... has the air of a spell. A beautiful and otherworldly book; a work of poetry steeped in history and rich with imagination. Douglas has a way of conveying the sense of wonder that powers the island's creative spirit. Douglas writes with an almost Biblical diction...Weaving a complex and warmhearted tale -- one told through multiple voices -- against a backdrop of violence. She can be uproariously funny too -- the patois practically jumps off the page, and things can go from light to dark in an instant. Her chapters are tracks that all work well as singles, but when played together pulsate with great power.--Juan Vidal "NPR"
Mind-blowing.-- "Publishers Weekly"
Rhapsodic, poetic, scripturally engaged and endlessly inventive. Not only is the electric atmosphere of Jamaica evoked with sensuousness, delicacy and love; so is the 'dub-side, ' a studio yard just the other side of death, where Bob Marley and a toothless and lisping Haile Selassie discuss the relative merits of routes to Zion.-- "Review 31"
A magical realist journey through the history of Rastafarianism, Bob Marley & Jamaica--not necessarily in that order. Rhapsodic, poetic, scripturally engaged and endlessly inventive. Not only is the electric atmosphere of Jamaica evoked with sensuousness, delicacy and love; so is the 'dub-side, ' a studio yard just the other side of death, where Bob Marley and a toothless and lisping Halle Selassie discuss the relative merits of routes to Zion.-- "Review 31"
A powerful woman-centered version of Jamaican her-story.-- "SX Salon"
Calling Marcia Douglas's new novel, The Marvellous Equations of the Dread, original would be so lazy, a banal understatement bordering on pointless. Also tempting, because the book evades pithy description, at least one that makes any sense. But here's a shot: Bob Marley has been reincarnated, in a manner of speaking, as Fall-down man, joining other recently revived ghosts--including but not limited to Marcus Garvey, Haile Selassie, and the Queen of Sheba. They're hanging out in the clock tower of Half Way Tree, a Kingston intersection notable more for its history than its traffic. What are they doing there? Beyond Jah, who knows? The Marvellous Equations is a marvelous tour through time and Jamaica's often tumultuous history, an ode to Rastafarianism, reggae music, and its resilient and resolute people, all inextricably intertwined.--Jon Foro "The Amazon Book Review"
Miraculous.--Matt Alston "The Believer" (1/4/2019 12:00:00 AM)
Massively creative, The Marvellous Equations of The Dread draws from--and continues--a long Caribbean musical tradition.-- "The Millions" (7/17/2018 12:00:00 AM)
Brave and strange: in the great cosmic scheme of this book there's constant traffic between this world and the next.--Colin Grant "The New York Review of Books" (10/10/2019 12:00:00 AM)
Marvellous Equations of the Dread is a celebration of the conflicted Jamaican experience. The women in Marcia Douglas's books are proud women: they are the descendants of Queen Nanny, the Maroon chieftain who, according to legend, could catch the bullets of the British soldiers between her teeth.-- "The Rumpus"
A pulsating tale revolving around the return of Bob Marley's spirit on a Kingston street corner dubbed Half Way Tree--it's about the transmigration of souls, Rasta dreams, and the powerful vibrations of consciousness passed down through generations. A whirlwind of a novel that sways to an irresistible beat.-- "Vanity Fair"
Marvellous Equations of the Dread harkens back to the past of slavery, oppression, and violence to account for the situation in Jamaica today...Mystical.-- "World Literature Today"
A rollicking, music-rich, dream-filled, polyphonic tour through Jamaica's past and present, both in this world and, on the "dub-side," beyond it, The Marvellous Equations of the Dread is a masterpiece of linguistic and narrative inventiveness, a contemporary literary marvel.--John Keene