A Breathtaking Fantasy Novel Brimming with Magical Realism
by Zalika Reid-Benta
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Pub Date 20 Feb 2024 | Archive Date 27 Feb 2024
Kensington Books, Erewhon Books
“River Mumma is a love letter to culture, home, and coming of age—and will spark important, relevant book club conversations, too.” —Marissa Stapley, New York Times bestselling author of Lucky
Issa Rae’s Insecure with a magical realist spin: River Mumma is an exhilarating contemporary fantasy novel about a young Black woman who navigates her quarter-life-crisis while embarking on a mythical quest through the streets of Toronto.
Alicia has been out of grad school for months. She has no career prospects and lives with her mom, who won’t stop texting her macabre news stories and reminders to pick up items from the grocery store.
Then, one evening, the Jamaican water deity, River Mumma, appears to Alicia, telling her that she has twenty-four hours to scour the city for her missing comb.
Alicia doesn’t understand why River Mumma would choose her. She can’t remember all the legends her relatives told her, unlike her retail co-worker Heaven, who can reel off Jamaican folklore by heart. She doesn’t know if her childhood visions have returned, or why she feels a strange connection to her other co-worker Mars. But when the trio are chased down by malevolent spirits called duppies, they realize their tenuous bonds to each other may be their only lifelines. With the clock ticking, Alicia’s quest through the city broadens into a journey through time—to find herself and what the river carries.
Energetic and invigorating, River Mumma is a vibrant exploration of diasporic community and ancestral ties, and a homage to Jamaican storytelling by one of the most invigorating voices in today’s literature.
“This quirky, fizzy, charming debut surprises and amuses. Reid-Benta writes beautifully, drawing on Caribbean mythologies to create a fast paced and entertaining tale. It's rare to find a novel written with such humour and heart.” —T. L. Huchu, USA Today Bestselling author of The Library of the Dead
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