November 14, 2022 7:56 AM EST

Jonathan Escoffery’s stories flourish in the middle of a Venn diagram, in a realm somewhere between autobiography and true-to-life fiction. The child of Jamaican immigrants, he writes about Trelawney, the younger son of Topper and Sanya, who fled Kingston for Miami in the 1970s, revealing the tensions involved in assimilation and cultural preservation. Told through a mix of first- and second-person narration, Escoffery also seamlessly switches from standard English to Jamaican patois for a story from the perspective of Trewlaney’s father—just one of many moving pieces in his debut collection, which was longlisted for a National Book Award. —Laura Zornosa

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