de book of Joseph

By (author): Pamela Mordecai

Finalist for the OCM Bocas Prize, Poetry, 2023

de book of Joseph, the third book in Mordecai’s epic trilogy about the lives of Jesus, his mother, Mary, and his foster father, the tekton of Nazareth, is a dazzling retelling in Jamaican Creole of the story of Joseph’s life–his first marriage, his magical meeting with Mary, and his role in the birth and raising of Jesus. Mordecai creates a cast of spirited characters who surround a down-to-earth Jesus, Mary and Joseph as they contend with the intrigue around Herod’s determination to assassinate the infant king of the Jews; the family’s escape to Egypt; and the trials they face on their return. At once humorous and tragic, playful and sober, this luminous tale of how Joseph and his families prevail over life’s vicissitudes will reward endless rereading.


Pamela Mordecai

Pamela Mordecai writes poetry, fiction and plays. Her collections of poetry are Journey Poem, de Man: a performance poem, Certifiable, The True Blue of Islands, Subversive Sonnets, de book of Mary: a performance poem, Up Tropic, and A Fierce Green Place: new and selected poems. Her first collection of short fiction, Pink Icing and Other Stories, appeared to enthusiastic reviews in 2006, and her first novel, Red Jacket, was published in 2015 and shortlisted for the Rogers Writers Trust Fiction Award. Her writing for children is widely collected and well known internationally. El Numero Uno, a play for young people, had its world premiere at the Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People in Toronto in 2010 and its Caribbean premiere at the Edna Manley School for the Performing Arts in Kingston, Jamaica, in 2016. She lives in Toronto.


“What beautiful language, what beautiful sound. Not a verse without grace, not a verse without lilt and measure. Pamela Mordecai is a wonder, a teller and a burnisher, working the syntax, rhetorical devices and pragmatics of Jamaican language to its perfection.” –Dionne Brand

“A truly wonderful imaginative creation! In de book of Joseph, part of a ‘retelling in Jamaican language of the ancient story of Jesus,’ Pamela Mordecai invites the reader into the mind of a Joseph who is active in his community. The carpenter reflects how his work with rockstone make him think of the life struggles of the Israelites, how we joust wid de Roman downpressor for freedom and food. Echoes of Jamaica, of Rastafari, of religion, of life. Pure delight!” –Merle Collins, author of Angel

“Mordecai pulls off another miracle of storytelling grace in this last panel of her New Testament triptych. Her Joseph is a man of joys and sorrows, a traveler through the rigorous geography of antique lands, an intimate weaver of the profane and the sacred. Like his creator, he is a wise wordsmith, blending Jamaican, Hebrew, and Greek in an earthy, playful, sacred, language, enacting ‘how a meaning can travel a difference of words like de same tune sound different on flute and psaltery.’ De Book of Joseph is a triumph.” –Timothy J Reiss, Professor Emeritus, New York University


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160 Pages
8.25in * 5.50in * .30in


June 01, 2022



Book Subjects:

POETRY / Caribbean & Latin American

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