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  • Earthquake

  • By Salkey Andrew
  • ISBN 9781845231828
  • Ricky Thomas, brother Doug and sister Polly spend their summer holidays in the coffee walk surrounding their grandparents’ country home in Dallas, Jamaica. There they play games of ‘Three on a Desert Island’. It’s a sunbaking day in July. Above the children the leaves of the mango and coffee trees are drying, the thin asphalt becoming syrupy beneath their feet, the atmosphere electric with the sun’s heat. But while Ricky scouts for an observation platform for his imaginary island, the children feel it. They feel the earth itself move beneath them. Is it part of their vivid imaginations—or is it the sign of a coming earthquake? Not least of Earthquake's charms is its sympathetic portrayal of Marcus, the Rasta from West Kingston who stops by Dallas to bring his prophetic vision. Whilst not the first Rastafarian in fiction, Marcus is undoubtedly the first in children's fiction. Andrew Salkey was born in Colon, Panama in 1928 of Jamaican parents. He was brought up in Jamaica by his mother and grandparents, his father remaining in Panama, but supporting the family financially. Salkey did not meet his father until 1960, and his work returns to the theme of mothers and sons frequently. He was educated at Munro College in Jamaica, left to attend the University of London in 1952, where he did a BA in English. He taught in school and worked as a broadcaster for the BBC on the Caribbean Voices programme. He was deeply involved in the Caribbean Artists Movement. He left the UK in 1976 when he relocated to Hampshire College in Amherst. He died in 1995.