An uproarious, sensual novel, Leone Ross's Popisho conjures a world where magic is everywhere, food is fate, politics are broken, and love awaits.
Everyone in Popisho was born...with a little something...The local name for it was cors. Magic, but more than magic. A gift, nah? Yes. From the gods: a thing that felt so inexpressibly your own.
Somewhere far away—or maybe right nearby—lies an archipelago called Popisho. A place of stunning beauty and incorrigible mischief, destiny and mystery, it is also a place in need of change.
Xavier Redchoose is the macaenus of his generation, anointed by the gods to make each resident one perfect meal when the time is right. Anise, his long lost love, is on a march toward reckoning with her healing powers. The governor’s daughter, Sonteine, is getting married, her father demanding a feast out of turn. And graffiti messages from an unknown source are asking hard questions. A storm is brewing. Before it comes, before the end of the day, this wildly imaginative narrative will take us across the islands, their history, and into the lives of unforgettable characters.
Popisho is a masterful delight: a playful love story, a portrait of community, a boldly sensual meditation on desire and addiction, and a critique of the legacies of corruption and colonialism. Inspired by the author's Jamaican homeland, inflected with rhythms and textures of an amalgam of languages, it is a dazzling, major work of fiction, in conversation with the likes of Gabriel García Márquez, Toni Morrison, and Arundhati Roy.
A Most Anticipated Book of 2021: The Millions, Paperback Paris, Cosmopolitan UK
"[Popisho] carves out a place in the canon of memorable works of magical realism alongside Midnight’s Children and One Hundred Years of Solitude, but it's also totally itself, a raunchy, sly, colorful exploration of individual and collective identity. A novel that suffuses the senses."
—Kirkus, starred review
“Intensely absorbing, this dazzling tale charts two lovers on the imaginary Caribbean archipelago of Popisho who must find their way back to each other over a single day. Vividly conjured, [it] brings to life a colourful cast of characters facing life-changing decisions across the island.... Love, second chances and fate, with razor-sharp postcolonial satire, this love story has already drawn comparisons to Gabriel Garcia Márquez, Toni Morrison and Arundhati Roy.”
"This is an ode to the soul, to food, to Caribbean myth and to magic."
—Refinery 29 UK
“A vibrant story of sensual characters and awe-inspiring, sometimes hilarious magic .... [With] joyous imagining of a peoples’ power. . . . this fresh take on magical realism delivers the goods.”
"Popisho is fire and magic. Leone Ross's ruthless humor immerses us in a dense, rich place where stories twist and worlds collide in audacious ways."
—Ingrid Persaud, author of Love After Love
“Popisho mixes lush, descriptive prose with the unrepentant wildness of folktales. Hands that can heal, palms that glow silver, body parts that abruptly fall off even though their owners keep living abound here. The fierceness of this novel in its imagery, in its ideas about women, the way it spoke to so many concerns of now, drew me in, but the caramel of the relationships, the way Leone Ross writes about intimacy, kept me enthralled.”
—Megan Giddings, author of Lakewood
“I feel like I have been waiting my whole life to read a novel this expansive, this generous, this full of magic and massive personality. Leone Ross is a marvel of a writer, and this book absolutely bespelled me.”
—Amber Sparks, author of And I Do Not Forgive You
“A novel this big in heart and imagination, this beautiful in prose, takes time. And my goodness it’s worth it. This is a stunning novel.”
—Kei Miller, author of Augustown