Broughtupsy: A Novel (Hardcover)

Broughtupsy: A Novel By Christina Cooke Cover Image

Broughtupsy: A Novel (Hardcover)

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At once cinematic yet intimate, Broughtupsy is an enthralling debut novel about a young Jamaican woman grappling with grief as she discovers her family, her home, is always just out of reach

Tired of not having a place to land, twenty-year-old Akúa flies from Canada to her native Jamaica to reconnect with her estranged sister Tamika. Their younger brother Bryson has recently passed from sickle cell anemia—the same disease that took their mother ten years prior—and Akúa carries his remains in a small wooden box with the hope of reassembling her family.

Over the span of two fateful weeks, Akúa and Tamika visit significant places from their childhood, but time spent with her sister only clarifies how different they are, and how years of living abroad have distanced Akúa from her home culture. "Am I Jamaican?" she asks herself again and again. Beneath these haunting doubts lie anger and resentment at being abandoned by her own blood. "Why didn’t you stay with me?" she wants to ask Tamika.

Wandering through Kingston with her brother's ashes in tow, Akúa meets Jayda, a brash stripper who shows her a different side of the city. As the two grow closer, Akúa confronts the difficult reality of being gay in a deeply religious family, and what being a gay woman in Jamaica actually means.

By turns diasporic family saga, bildungsroman, and terse sexual awakening, Broughtupsy is a profoundly moving debut novel that asks: what do we truly owe our family, and what are we willing to do to savor the feeling of home?
CHRISTINA COOKE's writing has previously appeared in The Caribbean Writer, Prairie Schooner, PRISM international, Epiphany: A Literary Journal, and elsewhere. A MacDowell Fellow, Journey Prize winner, and Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Award winner, she holds a Master of Arts degree from the University of New Brunswick and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Born in Jamaica, Christina is now a Canadian citizen who lives and writes in New York City.
Product Details ISBN: 9781646221882
ISBN-10: 1646221885
Publisher: Catapult
Publication Date: January 23rd, 2024
Pages: 240
Language: English
Ms., A Must-Read Book
Cosmopolitan
, A Best New Book of January
Nylon, A Best Book of the Month

Named a Most Anticipated Book by Elle, Goodreads, Write or Die, Electric Literature, Literary Hub, Lambda Literary Review, Bookshop, and LGBTQ Reads


"[T]alent is very much in evidence in Broughtupsy, which unfolds with a casual intensity, a lifelike meandering narrative which captures the quality of the visit between the sisters, gradually building to its dramatic climax. The story weaves effortlessly between present and past, showing—often at a single glance—historic events and their effect in the present. It’s a dizzying, compelling effect, and one which Cooke achieves with a deceptive ease . . . Broughtupsy is a powerful account of an attempt to find a place, both in the physical world, and deep within the self." —Robert Wiersema, The Toronto Star

"The idea of 'going home' is, for many members of the LGBTQ+ community, a complicated one. Take, for example, Akúa, the protagonist of Christina Cooke’s debut novel, Broughtupsy, who returns to Jamaica from Canada to connect with her sister after the loss of their younger brother. Akúa is soon forced to question what it means to belong as a young, queer, grief-stricken woman doing her best to heal. Cooke’s narration, at once poetic and conversational, lends Akúa’s story a sense of urgency and resonance." —Emma Specter, Vogue

"This is a deft debut overflowing with emotion." —Lauren Puckett-Pope, Elle

"A dazzling symphony of what it means to love, to grieve, and to belong." —Sarah Neilson, Shondaland

"[An] emotional and strong debut novel." —Sam Franzini, Our Culture Mag

"This debut novel delivers an atmospheric story . . . If your favorite movie is Moonlight and/or you’re a Justin Torres stan, Broughtupsy will wound and delight." —Marissa Higgins, Chicago Review of Books

"Cooke’s grasp on grief, language, dialogue, and queerness is unparalleled . . . The world Cooke brings you into is immersive and readers will feel the emotions swelling up and bursting off the page." —Adam Vitcavage, Debutiful

"A moving coming-of-age story." —Kathy Sexton, Booklist

"Vivid, emotionally intense, and unafraid of the dark." —Kirkus Reviews

"Cooke makes an assured debut . . . [she] successfully evokes the temerity and rebellious intelligence of Françoise Sagan’s Bonjour Tristesse." —Publishers Weekly

Broughtupsy is the work of a writer of immense heart. Cooke’s sharp imagination grows the more you read this novel, which by turns, brims with careful, sensitive storytelling. This debut promises, delivers, and delights.” —Canisia Lubrin, author of Code Noir

Broughtupsy is a tale that spans the hemisphere, from Jamaica to Texas to British Columbia. It also spans the evocative and intricate lengths of kinship and relationship. Christina Cooke weaves a tale of personal revelation and desire, spun from a language that is agile, vibrant, and expert in its registers.” —Wayde Compton, author of The Outer Harbour and The Blue Road: A Fable of Migration

"Christina Cooke’s Broughtupsy is a fiery debut novel that breaks new ground. It recounts the coming of age of an Afro-Caribbean lesbian who travels home to Jamaica from Canada seeking solace and finds her sense of self threatened by the triple undertow of grief, alienation, and homophobia." —Naomi Jackson, author of The Star Side of Bird Hill

"What a brilliant novel Broughtupsy is with its crackling dialogue and vivid descriptions of the sights, sounds and smells of Kingston—don’t read it when you’re hungry! I longed for nothing more than for Akúa, the passionate, opinionated heroine, to safely navigate the vicissitudes of loss and sisterhood. A stunning debut." —Margot Livesey, author of The Boy in the Field

"A luminous tale of a latter-day Antigone who navigates grief, love, death, sex, violence, language, queerness, race, and three countries with courage, joy, and a tender heart. Broughtupsy is an instant classic and Christina Cooke brings beauty and truth to every page." —Stacey D'Erasmo, author of The Complicities

“Through prose that leaps off the page and burrows under your skin, Christina Cooke renders a Jamaica that is lush, sensuous, and brimming with hope and joy. A heartrending exploration of grief, loss, identity, and desire—of family and all the ways the ones you love can hurt and heal you—Broughtupsy is a marvel.” —Jasmine Sealy, author of The Island of Forgetting

"Peppered with music, sensuality, and unflinching emotion, Broughtupsy completely immersed me in Akúa’s fraught homecoming journey through the heat and the heart of Kingston. Author Christina Cooke poses thrillingly nuanced, provocative questions about what it means to feel home, what we owe to our families, and how to guard the boundaries of the self while navigating it all. A gorgeous debut!" —Dawnie Walton, author of The Final Revival of Opal & Nev

"I am so excited for Christina Cooke's novel, Broughtupsy; willful women caught in fraught family drama and torn between countries. Cooke's prose is vivid, propulsive, and visceral." —Angie Cruz, author of How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water

“After her younger brother dies of sickle cell anemia, Akúa returns home to her native Jamaica with his ashes in hopes of reconnecting with their estranged older sister, discovering both love and violence along the way. Christina Cooke’s Broughtupsy is a searing, touching, and often funny meditation on family fault lines drawn by migration, homophobia, cultural difference, and sibling order, from a talented new writer among us.” —Emily Raboteau, author of Searching for Zion