Rhonda Frederick, English Department/African & African Diaspora Studies Program

What can a romance novel teach us about being in a Caribbean diaspora? Can this genre offer insight into how Jamaicans living outside of Jamaica come to know themselves as "Jamaican" and as part of a Jamaican diaspora? Rhonda Frederick's essay tackles these questions by putting the form of Colin Channer's novel Waiting in Vain—a blend of erotic and urban romances that the essay terms "urban romantica"—in conversation with its content. Reading Waiting in Vain through its form as well as its Amazon.com evaluations shows inordinate attention to the act of choosing an identity, particularly when characters are separated from the place and cultures of Jamaica. This essay, then, examines how "romance-ified" characters and characterizations depict a process of discovering loveable Jamaican identities that thrive outside of the island-nation.

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