The Toronto author Olive Senior's Jamaican birthplace provides the setting for these powerfully engaging 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; her characters emerge as triumphant examples of the human spirit unravelling the complex weave of race, class, and cultural and ethnic identity. The First Canadian Edition, Arrival of the Snake-Woman contains some of Olive Senior's masterpieces. A new edition is a cause for celebration." - H Nigel Thomas, from the Afterword
"Arrival of the Snake-Woman has consilidated (Olive Senior's) reputation as one of the most accomplished writers of short fiction and as one of the Caribbeans finest creative minds." - Caribbean Week
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.
"The Jamaican society provides Olive Senior an endless font of material for her creative hand to mould. The style she writes in is consistently delightful and easy to read, so easy indeed, that the unsuspecting reader runs the risk of forgetting the deep and sometimes dreadful concerns to which she would point her audience. We look forward to several other collections from this mistress of short fiction."--Journal of West Indian Literature
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