Gossipy, intimate, and provocative, and set in Trinidad and New York City, People and Peppers, A Romance gives a diverting peek into the nuances of a Caribbean island’s callaloo of inter-racial and multicultural social mores. James’s main characters are complex, motivated, and fun to know. Tall and handsome, the main protagonist, Vivion K Pinheiro, is the bastard of a half-Portuguese, half Afro-Haitian woman, and an attractive New Yorker with carrot-colored hair who danced beautifully. Accomplished as well, Vivion has earned national prestige as a scholar and athlete. As a young man trying to realize dreams, he can be selfish yet thoughtful, deceptive yet generous—no real villain, just a callow fella getting over by pulling the tricky strings of privilege and personal charm.
An important factor in his dream actualization is Vivion’s doting, wealthy mother to whom he confessed an ambition to construct an ecologically sensitive, self-sufficient house on countryside property she bought for him. He imagines the finished structure to be surrounded by a pepper farm that grows Moruga Red Scorpion peppers—the hottest on the planet.
A significant stubbing-stone to his ambitions though, is a habit of dodging difficulties—when the goings get tough, Vivion’s gone. How he deals with this failing is only one serving of this fine novel. Of other satisfying portions is the influence of the women in his life. In earlier novels, James’s female characters have been admirable stalwarts and he doesn’t disappoint here. Andaluza, the mother, is an indulgent one. Nikki, the lover, is a strong other. This empathetic novel superbly speaks to women’s compassion and tolerances in the name of love. So let’s live with Vivion as he discovers and submits to the sublime effects of romantic love and father issues.
“James (Fling with a Demon Lover) turns a love letter to Trinidad into this stylish literary novel filled with sensuous prose and colorful setting.”
“James (Secrets; A Fling with a Demon Lover) introduces readers to the crazy quilt of ethnicities, cultures, and religions that make up the island of Trinidad. He writes in a Trinidadian lilt that is catchy, charming, and much like calypso. Following Vivion around New York is like trying to do the limbo. How low can he go without hitting the ground? And observing the group of smart capable women who keep Vivion on track is a salute to feminism at its most delightful. This is a romance with life well worth reading.”
—Library Journal, Andrea Kempf
“An unforgettable tale.”
—Midwest Book Review, Elizabeth Nunez, Ph.D.
“Peoples and Peppers, A Romance, draws on complex interactions between diverse peoples, men and women, from Dominican Republic, Trinidad, New York, and Japan. Kelvin Christopher James captures their intimacies and compromises with fluent, accurate, and tasty expression in an ecology of people and pepper varieties in the field, and with sweet language, they linger on the reader’s mental palate.”
—Dr. Brader Brathwaite
People and Peppers,
by Kelvin Christopher James
Gossipy, intimate, and provocative
Release date: March 11, 2015
Praise for Kelvin’s Jumping Ship and Other Stories:
“A warm and gifted raconteur.”
Praise for Secrets, A novel:
“Incantatory . . . the finest novel to come out of the Caribbean
experience since V.S. Naipaul’s A House for Mr. Biswas.”
About the Author
Kelvin Christopher James has been the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship in Fiction and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Literature. He is the critically-acclaimed author of five novels: Secrets, a Novel (Villard & Vintage & KDP Indie), Fling with a Demon Lover (HarperCollins & KDP Indie), The Sorcerer’s Drum, Web of Freedom, Mooch, the Meek (KDP Indies), and short story collections Jumping Ship and other stories (Villard & KDP Indie), City Lives, Crazy Loves, Backcountry Tales (KDP Indies).