A House for Miss Pauline

A Novel


By Diana McCaulay

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$38.00 CAD


  1. Hardcover $29.00 $38.00 CAD
  2. Audiobook Download (Unabridged) $24.99

Starring an unforgettably fierce 99-year-old Jamaican heroine, A House for Miss Pauline is a transporting and tender story with a mystery at its heart that asks profound and urgent questions about who owns the land on which our identities are forged. For readers of Nicole Dennis-Benn, James McBride, and other stories about colonialism and personal history.

When the stones of her house begin to rattle and shift and call out mysterious messages to her in the middle of the night, Pauline Sinclair, age ninety-nine, knows she will not make it to her 100th birthday. She has lived a modest life in Mason Hall, a rural Jamaican village, educating herself with stolen books, raising her two children, surviving by becoming one of the most successful ganja farmers in the area, and experiencing both deep passion and true loss with her beloved “baby father” Clive.
Behind this seemingly benign façade, however, Miss Pauline has buried many secrets. To avenge her enslaved ancestors, she has built her house, stone by stone, from the ruins of a plantation on her land. And she knows more than she has told about the disappearance of Turner Buchanan—a white American man who came to Mason Hall decades ago to claim her land as his and his children’s. The whispering stones, Miss Pauline realizes, are telling her that she must make peace with the past before she dies.  

With help from her American granddaughter, Justine, and Lamont, a teenager she enlists to drive her around the island, she sets off to find the people she has wronged. But as the people and stories of her past come to invade her present, she discovers that there are shocking secrets even she could not have anticipated.
Lyrical, funny, eerie, and profound, infused with the patois and natural beauty of Jamaica, A House for Miss Pauline tells a timely and nuanced story about identity, colonialism, and land—and introduces an unforgettable heroine who is a model for living life on her own terms.

  • "History’s crimes unfurl in this magical story—a story as Jamaican as the stones in the title—and Diana McCaulay’s immaculate, breathtaking writing carries it with poise and conviction. This novel is poetry."
    Lisa Allen Agostini
  • "Diana McCaulay is one of the Caribbean’s finest writers. As an environmental activist, a Jamaican woman, and a writer of both contemporary and historical fiction, her novels are building blocks of the current Caribbean canon and will be read for years to come."
    Monique Roffey

On Sale
Feb 25, 2025
Page Count
288 pages
Algonquin Books

Diana McCaulay

About the Author

Diana McCaulay is a much-recognized Jamaican environmental activist and the award-winning author of five novels. Winner of the Gold Musgrave Medal, Jamaica’s highest award for lifetime achievement across the arts and sciences; twice Winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize for the Caribbean region (in 2022 and in 2012), she has also been shortlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Award, among other nominations, and is the winner of the Watson, Little 50 Prize for unrepresented writers aged 50+. Diana was born and lives in Kingston, Jamaica, is a founding editor of Pree, an online magazine for Caribbean writing, and is currently also working on an anthology of environmental writing.

Learn more about this author