Kei Miller (a published student)
Short stories
July 2006
Macmillan Caribbean

About the publication

Gavin was unlike other boys. He did not fight, he threw like a girl, he could not swim, he had no happy memories. His mother had died giving birth, his father had dropped the baby at the graveside. Gavin was raised by an abusive grandmother who beat him every day in twisted revenge. This haunting collection of stories is peopled mainly by rejects of society, sad and lonely souls trying to come to terms with, to survive in, antagonistic circumstances. Some of the protagonists are gay in the hypocritically macho world of Caribbean men. Some are women scarred by childhood rape. There are the mentally ill, the mentally challenged. There is obeah, superstition and communion with the dead. But love blooms in the most unexpected places, and amongst the misfits there are fighters such as Naomi, a Rastafarian acolyte abandoned with six children. And for all the hardship there is laughter, as in Augustus Silvera's triumphant last letter to the editor, and in the gospel according to Sue, who repaired her virginity every Sunday morning and so became immaculately pregnant.


Kei Miller writes with passionate understanding of bruised, repressed, and deprived selves seeking, achieving, or failing to find release and freedom. Deep feeling and violent experience, hinted at by the title of the collection, are represented with tact, sensitivity, artistic control, and technical variety.

Edward Baugh, The Caribbean Review of Books

Kei Miller proves adept at inhabiting the inner worlds of his characters whether gay men, mothers, young women, or older men. Miller is a promising young writer who presents a collection that manages to bring together individual stories that cohere together. His writing is varied, expressive and vivid, not always comfortable but always comfortably written. This is an impressive work in its own right, and as a debut work one that raises hope and expectations of much more to come.

David Clover, Society for Caribbean Studies Newsletter

What sets these stories apart are their unswerving loyalty to certain bitter truths about Jamaicans and West Indians in general - their fears, superstitions, ignorance, and prejudices. But these stories are more than socio-political commentary; they are occasionally hilarious and heart-breaking in turns, realistic and bizarre.

Mary Hanna, The Sunday Gleaner