Photographer Jake Mayfield, undertaking a personal quest for artistic integrity, finds beauty, passion, and racial discord on the lush and feral Caribbean island of Soufrière. On his first day there he has a run-in with Rollo Joseph, a dangerous pseudo-rasta whose presence haunts him both physically and psychologically as their conflict escalates by surprising yet almost inevitable degrees. Mayfield takes refuge in the company of Sheila Faber, the German proprietor of the Red Ginger Restaurant, and in the arms of her employee Rita Blanford, a reticent native girl.
In a panorama of island life the story moves back and forth from the streets of Granville, the capital town and Rollo’s turf, to the verdant surroundings of the Red Ginger and the tropical forests of the island’s highest peak, to the ramshackle seaside village of Pagan Bay, as Mayfield’s journey spirals downward into paranoia and criminal tourism. Part existential adventure, part love story, this earthy and idiosyncratic novel is a descriptive and sometimes humorous account of man’s essential dilemmas, a microcosm of sex, war and survival.