But while books such as Yaa Gyasi’s transatlantic opus, Homegoing, and Namwali Serpell’s Zambian epic, The Old Drift, home in on the experiences of their living characters, Card’s novel stretches beyond the earthly realm.
Like other works of Caribbean literature, These Ghosts Are Family takes a wide-ranging approach to its depiction of undead spirits.
Some of Card’s ghosts, such as those that manifest in Jamaica as a result of Abel’s faked death, are born of recent familial wrongs.
Not all of Card’s ghosts were once enslaved, but they still unearth the institutional evils that shaped modern Jamaica—namely, the transatlantic slave trade and British colonialism.
Taking care to also depict Fowler’s brutality through the eyes of the black Jamaicans he domineered, Card’s novel draws a direct line from Harold to the trauma that now shapes Abel’s family.

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