A Tall History of Sugar

Curdella Forbes

A Tall History of Sugar by Curdella Forbes (Hardback ISBN 9781786898579) book cover

Available as Hardback, eBook

6 February 2020

A vivid epic following an unusual couple’s mysterious love affair from childhood to adulthood, across rural Jamaica and England

‘Captivating from the very first page’ Jennifer Egan

Discovered amidst a tangle of sea grape trees by the childless Rachel Fisher, baby Moshe’s provenance is a thing of myth and mystery; his unusual appearance, with blueish, translucent skin and duo-toned hair, only serves to compound his mystique.

Equally feared and ridiculed by peers as he grows up, he finds a surprising kindred soul in the striking and bold Arrienne Christie, but their complex relationship is fraught with obstacles that tear them apart as powerfully as they are drawn together.

Beginning in the late 1950s, four years before Jamaica’s independence from colonial rule, A Tall History of Sugar’s epic love story sweeps between a rural Jamaica, scarred by the legacies of colonialism, and an England increasingly riven by race riots and class division.


A Tall History of Sugar is captivating from the very first page. Mythic in dimension yet movingly human in its details, alive with atmospheric richness, it heralds a fascinating new voice in English-language fiction”
Jennifer Egan

See more reviews

“A novel of Jamaica, brimming with magic, passion and history … Forbes’s writing combines the gale-force imagination of Margaret Atwood with the lyrical pointillism of Toni Morrison … This is a book for savouring”
new York Times

“A work of real-deal genius. A new Jamaican classic. Nobody’s sentences have made me shiver like this since Toni [Morrison]”
Sara Collins

“Eclectic, feverish … Who [Moshe] is and who he becomes … is a riddle that unfolds in episodic bursts and linguistic flourishes”
vanity Fair

“A rich tale of love in trying times. Definitely a book you’ll want to savour”
i-d


Curdella Forbes

Curdella Forbes is a Jamaican writer. She has published four previous works of fiction: Songs of Silence, A Permanent Freedom, Ghosts, and a children’s book, Flying with Icarus and Other Stories. She lives in Takoma Park, Maryland, and teaches at Howard University where she is a professor of Caribbean literature. She names among her literary influences the oral traditions of rural Jamaica, the fairy tales of her childhood and the work of Gabriel García Márquez.