The Toronto author's Jamaican birthplace provides the setting for these powerful and poignant stories that span a period of roughly 150 years, from the closing days of slavery in 1838 to the 1980s.
The tensions wrought by rapid change and conflicting loyalties are at the heart of these stories, most beautifully evoked in the novella "Arrival of the Snake-Woman". Here a young boy narrates the seminal event of his childhood in the late nineteenth century: the coming of a lonely Indian indentured woman into a mountain village.
Senior's stories are leavened with wit and humour and the intricate play with language and her characters emerge as triumphant examples of the human spirit unravelling the complex weave of race, class, and cultural and ethnic identity.
About the author
Olive Senior was born in Jamaica in 1941. She lives both there and in Canada. Her first collection of short stories, Summer Lightning (1986), won the Commonwealth Literature Prize. She has published two subsequent collections of short stories, The Arrival of the Snake Woman (1989) and The Discerner of Hearts (1995). She has two collections of poems, Talking of Trees (1985) and Gardening in the Tropics (1995). She has written on different aspects of Caribbean culture and was editor of Jamaica Journal.
"Arrival of the Snake-Woman has consolidated (Olive Senior's) reputation as one of the most accomplished writers of short fiction and as one of the Caribbean's finest creative minds." --Caribbean Week
"An exquisitely crafted collection of stories . . . the volume shimmers with rhythm, colour and a deep intelligence that opens a window into the complex world of people colonized by dominant white culture." --Herizons