Red Jacket: A Novel

Red Jacket CoverRed Jacket
by Pamela Mordecai


Released: February 28, 2015
TAP Book (Distributed by Dundurn)

Growing up on the Caribbean island of St. Chris, Grace Carpenter wonders how it is that her extended family is black, while she is a redibo, with copper coloured skin, red hair, and grey eyes. Unkind people taunt her with names like “red jacket.” Years later, as an adult working for the WHO in West Africa, she meets Jimmy Atule, an unusual priest with an unnerving gift. With his help, Grace confronts the truth about her birth and deciphers the mystery of her true identity.


Click here to read a review of Red Jacket that appeared in the Quill & Quire at the end of April 2015.


Click here to view a PDF of a review that appeared in the Waterloo Region Record on April 25th, originally published in The Guelph Mercury.


Below is a review of Red Jacket that appeared in Publisher’s Weekly.


Click here to read a review of Red Jacket by H. Nigel Thomas in the Maple Tree Literary Supplement.


Praise for Red Jacket

If there is a smelting room of the English language, if there is an iron table where syntax and breath are shone, here is where Pam Mordecai works her glittering materials.
~ Dionne Brand

Pamela Mordecai is a fearsomely ingenious writer, whose ear for language is equalled by her huge heart’s humanity.
~ George Elliott Clarke (Poet Laureate of Toronto)

A compelling tale of faith and family, ranging from the dusty landscapes of West Africa to the rich flavours
of the Caribbean.
~ Will Ferguson

A rich and compelling tale about the agony of being made to feel different and the elusiveness of belonging.
~ Rachel Manley

To contact Pam to book a reading or public appearance, please contact her personal publicist at Linked here is a media kit for anyone interested in knowing more about Pam or about her first novel, Red Jacket.

Red Jacket has been reviewed in Publisher’s Weekly

PW provides member-only access to their reviews, so below is the review in full:

This is the first full-length work of fiction from Mordecai, a widely published poet, critic, and short fiction author. Beginning on the fictional island of St. Christopher (reminiscent of Jamaica) in the late 1960s, the novel follows Grace Carpenter, the titular “red jacket” (illegitimate) child, through her life as the only adopted child in a large family. This exceptional story of one woman’s education, career, and motherhood is written largely in St. Chris Creole, which reads as linguistic “rock-and-roll… crissing and crossing from English English, to Creole Creole, and hitting all notes in between.” Mordecai interweaves Grace’s narrative with the personal histories of the mother who gave her up but never forgot her, her adoptive family, and two of the most important men in her life: Mark Blackman, the chancellor at the university in St. Chris, and James Nathaniel Atule, a Jesuit whom she meets through her work fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Grace’s story of a rise from humble beginnings may feel familiar, but Mordecai never allows it to become clichéd. The novel manages to strike a balance between the bleak awfulness of Grace’s life and the lush beauty of it. (Apr.)