The recipient of a prestigious Gunter Fellowship, Jessica leaves behind Jamaica, the only country she’s ever known, for Cambridge, Massachusetts, near the end of the twentieth century. In her fellowship year, she is to write a memoir about her father, a professor of mathematics at the University of the West Indies.
Attuned to watching for meaning below the surface of things, Jessica learns about the women with whom she shares her year, twenty women, all in middle age, all accomplished — considerably more accomplished than her slim volumes of poetry and one memoir allow her to feel.
Amidst the academic, artistic, and scholarly life of the Gunter Center, Jessica finds comfort and solace in a deepening friendship with her landlady, a retired economist whose life story she hears and records over the course of her fellowship year.
About the author
RACHEL MANLEY is the author of the memoir Drumblair: Memories of a Jamaican Childhood, which won the Governor General’s Award for Non-fiction in 1997, and Slipstream: A Daughter Remembers. She has also published three books of poetry and edited Edna Manley: The Diaries, a collection of her grandmother’s journals. Manley is a New York Public Library Fellow, a Pierre Berton Fellow, a Rockefeller Fellow (Bellagio), and a former Bunting Fellow for Literature at Radcliffe College. She serves on the creative writing faculty at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and has won Jamaica’s prestigious Centennial Medal for Poetry. Manley divides her time between Toronto and Jamaica. She has two sons, Drum and Luke.