Kaie Kellough’s Dominoes at the Crossroads (2020)
One of the powerful themes that resurfaces in these stories is breath and air becoming life and breathlessness representing oppression. The same saxophone player might be playing his horn on a float in the Caribana parade or on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean, inhabiting both the past and the present simultaneously. So, in one story: “Time, like fresh air, grows stale about one story below street level.” And, in another: “I remember her exact inflection, where she cut a word short, paused, and where her voice rose in pitch.” And, yet, another: “A knot tightened in my chest, like a stifled breath, and my body seemed to wrench toward the voices.”
This slim collection, barely two hundred pages long, was stuffed with so many sticky notes by the time I finished reading, it’s like it was strung with bunting. Reading Dominoes at the Crossroads brought to mind works by Jordan Abel, Cecily Nicholson, Catherine Leroux, Rawi Hage, and Kristjana Gunnars. It’s one of those books that I borrow, first, from the library, and then resolve to purchase so that it’s poised for rereading.
Contents: La question ordinaire et extraordinaire; Porcelain Nubians; Shooting the General; Dominoes at the Crossroads; Witness; Petit Marronage; We Free Kings; Navette; Capital; Ashes and Juju; Smoke that Thundered; Notes of a Hand