Nominated by:

Jamaica Library Service, Kingston

Publisher of nominated edition:

The University of The West Indies Press, Jamaica

Uncle Brother

Barbara Lalla    

2016 Longlist

Uncle Brother unfolds a tale of unflinching devotion against a tapestry of neglect and exploitation. Under the curious eyes of a succession of children glimmer fragments of stories that interlock to produce the saga of Nathan Deoraj – brother, uncle and teacher. The young boy on an early twentieth century cocoa estate in Trinidad begins his own story, and soon the opportunity for education and Nathan’s own passion for books opens the way to a brilliant future. Then a crippling loss reshapes his path.

However, the very limitations that close on him provoke him to unleash his mind into the awakening consciousnesses around him. Others who have taken up the tale reveal how Nathan’s subsequent choices lead to a recharting of countless lives and to the forging of connections that cross Caribbean social divides.

Yet, running alongside Nathan’s devotion to family and community are stories of those children who had no Nathan. Resentments arise and smolder, shocking injustice leads to tragedy, and, in old age, Nathan must tap yet deeper reserves of strength and endurance.

(from publisher)

About the Author

Barbara Lalla is Professor Emerita, Language and Literature, University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago. Her publications include Postcolonialisms: Caribbean Rereading of Medieval English Discourse, Defining Jamaican Fiction: Marronage and the Discourse of Survival, and the companion volumes Language in Exile: Three Hundred Years of Jamaican Creole.

Librarian’s Comments

An intricate, multi-narrative saga. The history of Trinidad as seen through the influence of a teacher, brother and uncle, Nathan or more fondly called “Uncle Brother”. The novel portrays the unfailing admiration bestowed on Uncle Brother by family and community and embeds itself into the canon of Caribbean literature.

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