In Yvonne Bailey-Smith’s captivating debut novel The Day I Fell Off My Island, teenager Erna Mullings is sent to live with her siblings in England after the death of her beloved grandmother in Jamaica. Unhappy at leaving her elderly grandfather and adrift in a strange new country with a mother she barely recognises, Erna begins a complex journey of estrangement and arrival, new beginnings and the uncovering of long-buried secrets.
Set in 1969, The Day I Fell Off My Island is an engrossing story of reluctant immigration, and the relationship between children and the people who parent them. It explores estrangement, transition and, ultimately, the triumph of resilience and hope.
Author Yvonne Bailey-Smith says of the book:
“As an immigrant child, I often wished that someone had been able to take me aside and explain to me that leaving everything I knew to go on a so-called adventure to somewhere way beyond my imagination was going cause me an unimaginable sense of loss and sadness. I also wish that the same person had been there to reassure me that I would survive and even flourish, given half a chance. My work and conversations with children, young people and adults, as well as with many friends, have given me a unique insight into the travails of people who have experienced things for which they felt utterly unprepared at the time.“
Praise for The Day I Fell Off My Island:
‘A striking story with unforgettable characters you’d expect to find in the grandest work of fiction’ –Candice Carty-Williams
‘Juggles laughter and tears with every page.’ – Margaret Busby
‘Brims with the pleasure of a story well-told.’ – Kwame Dawes
The Day I Fell Off My Island by Yvonne Bailey-Smith is published by Myriad Editions on 10th June.
(9781912408955, p/b, £12.99)