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 identi es more with magic realism. A richly entertaining and many layered read, its hermaphrodite narrator brings a contemporary avour 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.
Rare and magical. The first of its kind… wonderful evocative language; complete emotional range; a loving, touching insight into human and family relationships.
– Sam Selvon
An impressively written work by a very gifted writer…subtle but compelling…strange and intriguing fiction with its layers of incurable pathos.
– Wilson Harris (Wasafiri)
What a powerful writer unfashionably leisured and completely self-confident. A Caribbean One Hundred Years of Solitude.
– Fay Weldon
An engrossing and compulsive work of fiction…with a sensuous prose style…a vast gallery of characters – vivid, grotesque, miraculous, surprising, pathetic.’
– Ken Ramchand
This novel has more of the tone and texture and taste of the Caribbean milieu than any novel I can think of. This is a wonderful novel: rich, sensuous, quirky, energetic, vividly memorable.
– Stewart Brown