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In July, we will read “If I Survive You” by Jonathan Escoffery.
Escoffery’s debut story collection, which was nominated for the National Book Award in 2022, chronicles the experiences of a marginalized family in the contemporary United States.
“If I Survive You” describes the lives of immigrant Jamaican parents Topper and Sanya and their children from the 1970s to 2008. Trelawny, the youngest boy in the family, is stuck between different cultures, trying to find his way in a world where he feels he belongs nowhere. The reader has the opportunity to follow his journey from childhood to adulthood, his desire to belong, his personal struggles and his identity crisis.
The delightful short stories, told by different members of the family, complement each other in a way that gives a nuanced picture of how Jamaicans in America see themselves and how others perceive them. Sometimes humorous, sometimes more emotional, they unpack what it means to be an immigrant in the United States.