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  • Dialogue Books

Frying Plantain

Zalika Reid-Benta

4 Reviews

Rated 0

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

'An unforgettable debut' Paul Beatty, Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Sellout

'Zalika Reid-Benta announces herself as an enormous voice for the coming decade (and one that is desperately needed)' Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story

'An unforgettable debut' Paul Beatty, Booker Prize-winning author of The Sellout

'Effortless, vivid, funny, sad' Janice Galloway, author of Clara and All Made Up

'Zalika Reid-Benta announces herself as an enormous voice for the coming decade (and one that is desperately needed)' Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story

Kara Davis is a girl caught in the middle - of her Canadian nationality 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 Little Jamaica, Toronto's Eglinton West neighbourhood, 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. In her brilliantly incisive debut, Zalika Reid-Benta artfully depicts the tensions between mothers and daughters, second-generation Canadians and first-generation cultural expectations, and Black identity and predominately white society.

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Praise for Frying Plantain

  • Zalika Reid-Benta announces herself as an enormous voice for the coming decade (and one that is desperately needed). Not all must-read books are this enjoyable

  • Sharp-witted and sharp-tongued, Frying Plantain is written in the indelible ink of memory. Zalika Reid-Benta is a masterful storyteller with a light touch, a photographic recall and a pitch-perfect ear for the ephemera we'd like to think of as youthful, but just can't seem to shake. This is an unforgettable debut

  • Zalika Reid-Benta's first book - by turns effortless, vivid, funny, sad, and genuinely like being there - is as shiny as they come. Frying Plantain, a window into the world of growing upward and onward inside and outside family ties, is an absolute gem

  • Each story in Frying Plantain is achingly poignant, insightful, and funny; each a gem unto itself. Ms. Reid-Benta's fully sympathetic protagonist, Kara Davis, is a girl who belongs to neither Canada nor Jamaica, despite the fact that both places are 'home'. As a collection, these stunning stories create a multi-faceted jewel of a book

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