A Jamaican boy and his family are caught on the cusp of change.
Lloyd Saunders, a young brown-skinned Jamaican boy, keeps counting the days until his fisherman grandfather, Maas Conrad, returns from Pedro Bank. His father occasionally comes around with a few dollar bills, fists, and the smell of rum. His mother sells Conrad’s catch to the well-to-do by the nearby Liguanea supermarket and has no time to worry about the old man. Only Conrad talks to Lloyd and teaches him about the sea, life, and times gone by. As each day passes he wonders what has happened to the old fisherman. Determined to find his grandfather, Lloyd sets out asking around Kingston, enlisting his buddy Dwight to help solve the mystery. Although Lloyd has faith, each day erodes the belief of everyone around him. When he learns that his grandfather may have been involved in dolphin hunting, Lloyd realizes sinister forces threaten Conrad and his family. The characters’ lilting patois guides readers into a changing Jamaica rich with lessons bobbing just below the surface. The quiet, deliberate third-person narration is interspersed with the thoughts of Conrad, whose personal history of Jamaica gently anticipates Lloyd’s journey. The relationships between boy and elder, man and sea, crime and poverty all lift McCaulay’s first children’s novel into a different league.
A boy’s home is a place in the heart of one whose heart makes a place for him. Beautiful. (Fiction. 8-12)