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Wake Rasta

  • Wake Rasta
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Excerpt

– The Rapscallion and the Sea

Now my cabin was below deck level so I had to climb one flight of stairs to get to the level of the main deck. When I get there, the first thing that come to me was to go outside and check things. So I start open the door to the outside and the ship slam down again as the door open a crack and water begin spray through the door. Is then I realize that things was really rough. So I climb two more flights and go to the third level of the superstructure and open the door to the outside. Now I was two levels above the maim deck and in the shelter of the superstructure. But that did not stop water from spraying me. As soon as I poke my head out, I soaked. The water never had much force at that level though, just spray, spray from wave or rain I could not tell, but spray any way; spray and wind every where and the sea stand up like man before me. When me say stan' up like man me not joking. It stand up like a ugly sensible being; vex, vex, vex.

Alright now, you see when I try to go out on the deck, I couldn't go out fully, I had to stay half-in, half- out; because I was alone and I didn't want the door to slam and lock me outside, plus the way the ship was rocking and rolling one false step and I would probably fall overboard. So I just barely push half-way through the door. When I push miself out, the ship was staggering on top of a wave. It was at an angle, for it just finished climbing it, so the bow pointing in the air and all I could see was sky in front and the sea stand up ugly and rolling to the sides. Then as the wave roll under the ship and the ship move forward, is like everything disappear from under us and the forward half of the vessel have nothing under it, and is like the ship just shoot off the top of the wave. It shoot off, like them man who ski, and then it drop, plodow, and slam onto the back of the wave as it start to disappear.

That is when everything in you belly feel like it drop out, and every part of the ship tremble and groan. And when it drop and start to plough down into the trough, all I see in front of me is water, just water. Then half way down, the next wave come and slam the bow, and the bow shudder, and rock, and shy away little and disappear into the water for a while, and then the ship start shudder some more, like she have fever and then she start climb the wave and the water start foam over her and the whole main deck disappear for a while and all around is just the ugly sea, stand up like man a rail and a flex itself, vex, vex, vex.

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Product Description

Wake Rasta and Other Stories contains seven stories which are varied in approach, style and point of view. This is Ellis’ second collection, published in 2001, and represent a surer more confident Ellis without any loss of the sympathy for his characters and their environment which marked his earlier collection. 

By the time the collection emerged some of the stories had already had their own individual successes. Spert was published by Callallo; Hartel had been published in the Caribbean Writer and had won the Canute A. Brodhurst prize. The Rapscallion and the Sea had also been published.

Two of the stories are straight out of the seafaring phase of Ellis’ life; others are out of Central Village where he grew up. 

STORIES

Hartel

A young man tries to come to grips with the  uncertainties he experiences from a father who is not sure he is his.

Wake Rasta

A Rasta man is needed for the very soul of a society whose children threaten his very existence.  Is it possible for the values of a society to survive the next generation’s demands?

Mississippi Morning

A young marine officer is reluctantly drawn into a drug smuggling operation.

The Rapscallion and The Sea

An old ship, a stubborn old sailor, and a half-crazy captain are caught in a mighty storm in the gulf of Mexico.

Shirley’s Temple

A young bank supervisor is caught between her poverty, her morals and her financial and material needs.

Spert

A bright young woman must choose between love, security and driving ambition

The Outlaw

Time and love threatens the independence of a drifter in the Florida Keys

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Product Reviews

  1. An Atlas of personal Conflicts

    Posted by The Sunday Herald on 28th Feb 2012

    uninitiated readers may pick up this volume expecting some sort of treatise on Rastafari. They will be disappointed on that score, but rest assured the feeling is just temporary.

    Prize winning author Garfield Ellis (His Flaming Hearts won the Una Marson National Literary award.) is less interested in theology or ideology than in psychology – Jamaican style. The seven stories contained in this collection are essentially brief character studies, inspired and informed by the established but always evolving idiosyncrasies of the Jamaican people.

    But rather than indulge in literary caricatures Ellis invests his characters with their own distinct yet credible personas. Think of it as an Atlas of personal conflicts with Jamaica as the principal backdrop.

    The title story is indicative of this. A young but hardened gunman his “delinquent-on- the-riser”. Accomplice, an impressionable pr-adolescent boy, his chronically ill grandmother and a local shopkeeper (the ‘rasta’ of the title) populate this ultimately tragic tale of greed and divided loyalties.

    The diverse socio-political strands that Ellis weaves together in this story, set at the height of the political tensions that intensified in 1980 are alone worth the read. “Politics” he writes, “thundered down the Spanish Town Highway . . . and split the village in two. Socialist on one side and laborites on the other.”

    Juxtaposed in the middle of the book are two stories that speak to the compromises that men of means enforce upon our women folk. “Spert” tells of a young Jamaican woman forced to choose between her rags to riches financial security and the desire for independence. While “Shirley’s Temple” shows a more materialistic ‘heroine’ her ambition. Spert in Particular, is a deceptively simple but powerful examination of the collision between traditional roles , material desires and the need for individual accomplishment that are rearranging contemporary Jamaican life.

    Ellis’ chief narrative mode is the confessional, that is, the protagonist themselves tell the story in their own voices. It is the author’s voice however, that shines through.

    In one passage, from the abovementioned, “Shirley’s Temple” He outlines the unfolding of a silk negligee thus;
    “White laced silk, light as baby’s breath, fell against her hand, she pulled and it unfolded , like silver drifting smoke.

    The book is replete with such compact descriptive gems, whether Ellis is addressing intimate moments , the crush of peek hour traffic on a busy Kingston street or the uneasy existence of both the bucolic and the urban in a small town.,

    Wake Rasta and other Stories confirms Ellis as Jamaican writer of prodigious talent.



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