Kei Miller - The Last Warner Woman (4 stars)

Kei Miller - The Last Warner Woman

(Weidenfeld & Nicolson)

Skipping effortlessly through a host of complex characters, with this searching and lyrical work Kei Miller achieves an incredibly engaging range of voice from the outset. Gently dropping through three generations of Jamaican women – a fierce grandmother, a kindly, open-eyed mother and a stalwart, elderly fosterer – Miller finally delivers the reader at central character Adamine Bustamante, born inside one of the island’s last leper colonies.

Left alone to care for the group, Adamine finds herself in the grips of a Revivalist Church, where she discovers her gift for prophecy. Her doomed forewarnings are no longer entertained, however, when the warner woman migrates to England and is committed to a mental hospital. Told simultaneously from the point of view of a mysterious ‘Mr Writer Man’ and Adamine, now an old woman, the tale is unravelled as a tissued, multifaceted beast. Laced with issues of migration, family, faith, and most impressively, the imperceptible politics of storytelling, Miller has spun an indelible yarn.

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