By (author) Lawrence Scott
Publication date:30 April 2017
Witchbroom is a visionary history of a Caribbean Spanish/French Creole family and an island over four centuries to 20th-century independence. With an innovative tone and content, its carnival tales of crime and passion are told by the narrator Lavren, who is both male and female. First published in 1992, Witchbroom became a Caribbean classic. The following year it became a BBC Radio 4 Book at Bedtime, broadcast over eight nights and read by the author. It was shortlisted for a Commonwealth Writers Prize Best First Book. A pioneering work, it heralded a new generation of modernist Caribbean writers who, like Scott, broke away from a predominantly realist literary tradition; Witchbroom identifies more with magical realism. A richly entertaining and many layered read, its hermaphrodite narrator brings a contemporary flavour to the novel. The title Witchbroom refers to a fungus that attacks cocoa trees, and is also used as a metaphor for the decline of the island's plantocracy.