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A Million Aunties


American-born artist Chris is forced to reconsider his conception of family during a visit to his mother’s Caribbean homeland.

$16.95 $12.71

What people are saying…

“Alecia McKenzie’s tender new novel [is] an emotionally resonant ode to adopted families and community resilience.”
New York Times Book Review, Editors’ Choice

Shortlisted for the 2020 Caribbean Readers’ Awards (Best Adult Novel)!

A New York Public Library Book of the Day selection!

Longlisted for the 2022 DUBLIN Literary Award!

“Delightfully original, this novel centers Chris, an American who travels to his mother’s homeland of Jamaica to reflect and heal after tragedy strikes. What he encounters is unexpected, complicated and, perhaps, just what he needs.”
Ms. Magazine

“Emotional, enthralling and heartfelt . . . A story of loss and the infinite types of love.”
Woman’s World

“Though a slim volume, [McKenzie’s] latest novel, A Million Aunties, provides a delicious and multithreaded tale—an exploration of the lives of a small group of people whose lives intertwine in interesting and subtle ways.”
Whistling Shade

“Have you ever not wanted a book to end? Were disappointed that the characters are gone from your life? A Million Aunties by Alecia McKenzie is one such novel that makes you yearn for more.”
New York Journal of Books

“A wide-ranging novel told in several voices that moves between New York, rural Jamaica, and Paris. Painting is at the heart of the book but so is family, love, heartbreak, and loss. The story pulls you in and holds you right till the end. It’s strongly written with a delicate touch.”
New West Indian Guide

A Million Aunties is a beautiful story of recovering from loss and coming to terms with your past.”

“Thoroughly satisfying . . . This bighearted narrative of love, loss, and family is handled with grace and beauty.”
Publishers Weekly, Starred review

“Racial identity, nonfamilial relationships, and the restorative nature of art are all explored as McKenzie considers the possibility of regeneration of the human spirit even as we grapple with the tragedies of lost loves and changing worlds. McKenzie successfully integrates various speech patterns in Caribbean patois and a mixture of English and French as she takes readers on a hopeful journey across continents.”
Booklist, Starred review; one of the Best New Books of the Week

A Million Aunties is an exquisite novel about beauty and pain, and what binds us together. Through captivating character studies, quiet lovely writing and deceptively simple storytelling, McKenzie illuminates basic commonalities and rethinks what family and home mean.”
Shelf Awareness

“The beauty and brilliance of Blackness in the diaspora take centerstage in Alecia McKenzie’s A Million Aunties, showcasing the intricate textures of identity, place, and connection to survive loss.”
Colors of Influence

“McKenzie . . . vividly depict[s] how people spread across nationalities and generations link together, enjoy one another’s company, overcome conflicts and see their comrades through dark times.”
Spectrum Culture

“Full of wondrous tales of how simple acts of kindness can bring us all together, A Million Aunties is a compelling book about unlikely love, friendship, and community, sprinkled with delightful surprises along the way.”
Exclusive Magazine

“A beautiful book for anyone who knows there is more to family than blood relations. After losing his wife, NYC artist Chris travels to his mother’s hometown in Jamaica and contemplates his place in the world.”
Book Culture (New York), a Most-Anticipated Book of November 2020

“I love this book; I felt like it was the authentic Jamaican experience.”
Runwright Reads

A Million Aunties is an elegantly written and emotionally engrossing work of fiction.”
Bernardine Evaristo, Booker Prize–winning author of Girl, Woman, Other

A Million Aunties gives us the stories of an unlikely cross-world community brought together by anguish, loss, difference, the healing gifts of art, and above all, the loves of women. Under her deceptively revealing title, Alecia McKenzie recreates Jamaica’s enduring traditions in fresh and illuminating ways that make this one of the most avant-garde fictions I have read in a long time.”
—Curdella Forbes, author of A Tall History of Sugar

Praise for Alecia McKenzie:

“McKenzie has infused this lovely novel with such life and such passion . . . [Sweetheart is] a dazzling celebration of human connection.”
Maple Tree Literary Supplement, on Sweetheart


After a personal tragedy upends his world, American-born artist Chris travels to his mother’s homeland in the Caribbean hoping to find some peace and tranquility. He plans to spend his time painting in solitude and coming to terms with his recent loss and his fractured relationship with his father. Instead, he discovers a new extended and complicated “family.” The people he meets help him to heal, even as he supports them in unexpected ways. Told from different points of view, this is a compelling novel about unlikely love, friendship, and community, with surprises along the way.

Listen to the Reading Women podcast discuss and recommend A Million Aunties in their feature on Books That Center Black Joy.

Book Details

  • Paperback: 202 pages
  • Published: 11/17/20
  • IBSN: 9781617758928
  • e-IBSN: 9781617758959
  • Hardcover
  • IBSN: 9781617759543


ALECIA McKENZIE is a Jamaican writer currently based in France. Her first collection of short stories, Satellite City, and her novel, Sweetheart, have both won Commonwealth Book Prizes. The French edition of Sweetheart was awarded the Prix Carbet des Lycéens. Her other books include Stories from Yard, Doctor’s Orders, and When the Rain Stopped in Natland. Her writing has also appeared in a range of literary magazines and in anthologies such as Stories from Blue Latitudes, The Oxford Book of Caribbean Short Stories, Bridges, Global Tales, Girls Night In, and To Exist Is to Resist. She has edited two collections of contemporary short stories, and her poetry has been published in various international journals including The Caribbean Writer and the Journal of Postcolonial Writing. Her most recent novel is A Million Aunties.

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