I don’t actually know why I couldn’t finish this book. I remember browsing through a bookstore a few years ago, when the title of the novel caught my attention: Jamaica, written in clear white text down the spine. I fished the book from its spot on the shelf and read the blurb. It sounded interesting. It sounded good, so I bought the book. I started reading it, too. I managed maybe a sixth of the book, and, after carefully marking my place with the bookmark the bookstore had given me, Jamaica proceeded to sit on my bookshelf, unopened, and unread.
I was definitely intrigued by the book, and the writing was captivating, so it can’t have been out of boredom, or frustration at the writer’s craft. It may have simply been a matter of something more immediately interesting coming along, such as the YA books I was in the habit of devouring at that point. I’ve never been one to have a single book on the go at a time, and usually they all get read eventually, but somehow, Knox’s Jamaica slipped under my radar.
I’ve also always been one to buy books, and lots of them, with the attitude that I will eventually get around to reading them. And there is method in my madness: there are days when I’m wandering around the house, looking for something new to read. Now, all I have to do is go to my bookshelf and pick out the books I haven’t quite managed to get to yet.
But I owe Jamaica, and Malcolm Knox, an apology: I’m sorry your book got lost in the stack with no good reason. I didn’t mean for your words to sit there and rot. And I didn’t even allow Jamaica a second chance. I know I wrote once that second chances for books you don’t like are a waste of time, but I don’t think Jamaica is a book I didn’t like. It is simply one I couldn’t finish, and maybe it is about time to turn it into a book that I could finish. I’ll post a review if I make it that far.
Jamaica, Allen & Unwin, 2007