Originally published in 1954 and acclaimed around the world as one of the classics of Caribbean fiction, "Brother Man" is the tragic story of an honest Rastafarian healer caught up in a web of intrigue and betrayal in Jamaica's tough West Kingston slums. The healer's name is John Power, but everybody calls him Brother Man - a cobbler whose ability to cure the sick and injured through a mystic force uplifts him to the status of a prophet. Throngs begin to trail him when he passes in the street. With each miracle performed his reputation spreads. Looking on with envy is the evil Papacita, a violent enforcer whose authority is threatened by Brother Man's message of peace and love. Papacita's jealousy is stirred in more ways than one. The brutal schemer also covets the attention of Minette, a young attractive girl that Brother Man has rescued from the streets. Set in the same rambunctious lanes that reggae icons like Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff would later stroll and sing about, "Brother Man", is the unforgettable portrait of a ghetto saint - an ordinary man selected by the universe to bring enlightenment to poor belittled people.
It's a story of compelling mythic power that has stood the test of time.
Roger Mais was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1905 and died in 1955. Educated at Calabar High School and first employed in the Civil Service, he later moved from job to job in a variety of fields, including banana tallyman, photographer, insurance salesman and reporter, which allowed him the time for his own creative work. He was a painter, a poet and a prolific writer of versatility. Besides his writings for the Daily Gleaner and Public Opinion, he published two collections of short stories, wrote nearly forty plays for stage or radio, and finished eight novels. Some critics consider Black Lightning (1955) his finest novel, but it was the first two of his three published novels, The Hills were Joyful Together (1953), a yard story that draws on Mais's own prison experience, and Brother Man (1954), in praise of the Rastafarian way of life that made his name as a novelist of social protest.