Book Title: A Reason for Living by Julian Jingles
Category: Adult Fiction, 382 pages
Genre: Historical fiction
Release date: January 17, 2018
Tour dates: May 21 to June 8, 2018
Content Rating: R
It is the mid-1960s in Kingston, Jamaica, and the country is steeped in social, political, and economic inequities. Howard Baxter, the heir to a real estate empire, has no interest in seeking or managing wealth. Painting and deflowering Jamaican maidens are his passions. As he combs the streets looking for greater meaning in his pathetic life, it soon becomes apparent that Howard's journey will not be easy.
Bernaldo Lloyd, a member of the Baxter clan, is a medical student who is sensitive to the hopelessness of the Jamaican masses. Inspired by his close friend and Howard's cousin, Ras Robin Pone, and their ties with the Rastafari movement that calls for social and economic equity, Bernaldo is determined to overthrow the corrupt government. As Howard, Bernaldo and Robin become influenced by America's Black Power and Civil Rights movements demanding equal rights for African Americans, the women in their lives both love and criticize them. But when revolution breaks out, Howard finally discovers a purpose for his twisted life that leads him in a direction he never anticipated.
In this tale of love, passion, and self-discovery, two Jamaican men become caught up in a 1960s revolution that reveals injustices, oppression, and a purpose for one of them.
Praise for A Reason for Living:
“Riveting, touching on micro and macro relationships of love, sex and politics, and the search of Jamaicans for the essence of their existence, with many compelling scenes and very touching, sensitive dialogues.”
- Dr. Basil Wilson, New York Carib News
"A Reason for Living is a highly complex work that pits sense against sensibility. Emotions surge, transforming men in unfathomable ways. And as love and revolution march in lock-step, Jingles might well have earned a place among the region’s more interesting writers."
- Glenville Ashby, Kaieteur News
“The author, filmmaker, entrepreneur did not wile away five decades as a bystander but may have calculatedly used the hiatus to toil in order to reveal a compelling novel about the creative and volatile ‘60s in Jamaica.”
- Vinette K. Pryce, Caribbean Life
From I started elementary, now primary, school in the mid-1950s, I was the one who organized play time at break and lunch. Making up the stories, mostly cowboys and Indians, and selecting who to play which character. It was when I was about 14 and in high school, that one of my English teachers commended me before the class after I wrote an assignment doing adaptations of “The 39 Steps” and “The Four Just Men.” By age 15 I knew I had a novel in me and informed my parents that I was going to be a writer and needed a typewriter. Looking back it was very amazing that my working class parents, without any hesitation took me to select a typewriter that they purchased on “hire purchase.” One year later I began work on my manuscript, A Reason For Living.
I was initially drawn to writing fiction, and it was upon getting a short story published in The Star and went to the editor of the Gleaner Company that owned both the morning paper, The Gleaner and the evening paper, trying to submit anther story for publication, that he asked what were my plans? I told him that I was writing a novel. He told me that I cannot make a living s a writer in Jamaica at age 16, and invited me to apply for work as a journalist with the company. A few months later I had my first job, as a trainee journalist, at age 17.
My mission as a journalist was to seek out truth and facts and report such to the readers, with objectivity. Jamaica was a young independent nation and seeking its path in the world. I took my own path in the journey, focusing on Jamaicans who were establishing their leadership identities in their professional undertakings. I began writing feature articles on outstanding people in young Jamaica. One area that they were excelling in was music, and between 1967 to 1972, I produced many articles on the great talent making Jamaican popular music, namely reggae music, the genre that was to make an indelible mark on world popular music culture. I am credited to be the first journalist to write feature articles on Clement “Coxsone” Dodd, the legendary producer and owner of world renown Studio One Records, and Bob Marley and the Wailers, the phenoms of Jamaican reggae music, that captured world attention.