Rain on a Tin Roof – Caribbean short stories

Rain on a Tin Roof – Caribbean short stories

By Gabriel J. Christian

US $19.99

In his vibrant stories Christian captures the complex realities of a people whose long histories have been aching to be told, embellished with his own recollections and flair. Rain on a Tin Roof’s adventure-starved little boy, who dashes to a window to watch a hurricane swipe the galvanized-iron roofs off the island’s houses, is Christian.

The hormonal adolescent who five-finger-discounts his mother’s kitchen rum to set the mood for a day of carnival, hoping to “wriggle on his classmate Tessa’s behind,” is Christian. And Christian is also the protective brother who gives the evil eye to a crowd of jeering kids hurling stones and insults at his developmentally challenged sister.

Christian is eager to focus his attention on his home–and not to contribute to the brain drain that seems to plague most Caribbean countries, where children leave for education abroad but never return, physically or otherwise, to strengthen the islands that nurtured them.

Customer Review: 4/5 stars

“Dominica.” “Identity.” “Colonialism.” The words cascade easily off Gabriel J. Christian’s tongue as he weaves the names and dates of almost every major event in Caribbean history into his conversation. From the Cuban Revolution to Sammy Sosa, Christian can tell you just about everything about Carib people–and somehow, despite all his historical allusions and unexpected tangents, it all makes sense. He is, after all, a lawyer. Your first impression of him is that he is a man well-suited to writing lengthy, carefully argued works of nonfiction. Not surprisingly, his first book, In Search of Eden, co-authored with Irving Andre and published in 1992, chronicles the history of the island-nation Dominica. But his latest endeavor, Rain on a Tin Roof, is a collection of short stories Christian calls “quirky.” It shows an unexpected side of the guy who works 12-hour shifts at his own law firm, goes home to watch C-SPAN, and then settles into a political book before going to bed at 1 a.m. Recently, instead of penning letters on behalf of his clients, he has been spending much of his time sitting at the computer in his “cubbyhole of a basement,” contemplating name changes for the characters he has drawn from his childhood memories. In his vibrant stories Christian captures the complex realities of a people whose long histories have been aching to be told, embellished with his own recollections and flair. Rain on a Tin Roof’s adventure-starved little boy, who dashes to a window to watch a hurricane swipe the galvanized-iron roofs off the island’s houses, is Christian. The hormonal adolescent who five-finger-discounts his mother’s kitchen rum to set the mood for a day of carnival, hoping to “wriggle on his classmate Tessa’s behind,” is Christian. And Christian is also the protective brother who gives the evil eye to a crowd of jeering kids hurling stones and insults at his developmentally challenged sister. Christian is eager to focus his attention on his home–and not to contribute to the brain drain that seems to plague most Caribbean countries, where children leave for education abroad but never return, physically or otherwise, to strengthen the islands that nurtured them. Pond Casse Press, Christian’s publishing company, has offices in Roseau, Dominica as well as in Upper Marlboro, Md., and Brampton, Ontario. And his involvement in the Dominican Association of Washington D.C. and the Institute of Caribbean Studies makes Christian the perfect poster boy for Caribbean nationalism. But his approach to the role is subdued. Maybe it’s because, for him, entertainment is strapping on a satchel and heading down to Martin Luther King Memorial Library. Or perhaps it’s because, deep inside, he knows he cannot really return to Dominica, a place that has irrevocably changed since he left it 17 years ago.