Focusing on Jamaica’s capital city, Kingston, Chapter Two explores portrayals of urban communities in Alecia McKenzie’s Satellite City and Other Stories (1992) and Kwame Dawes’ A Place to Hide and Other Stories (2003). Both highlight the impact of dominant imaginings of Kingston on social relations, drawing attention to how perceptions of a city inform experiences of urban space. This chapter argues that by incorporating a variety of narrative voices, alongside their allusions to other modes of expression such as music, art, tabloid journalism and radio, Dawes’ and McKenzie present Kingston as a site of competing narratives. The chapter also suggests their stories contribute to shaping the city’s urban imaginary. In Dawes’ cycle, individual stories are drawn together by a ‘reggae aesthetic’, enabling the envisaging of connections between the city’s urban communities. McKenzie’s collection builds an intricate network of social relations, extending across stories, which complicates Kingston’s imagined uptown/downtown dichotomy.
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