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.
Rachel Manley is an author and poet. She is best known for her memoir, Drumblair: Memories of a Jamaican Childhood (winner of the Governor General's Literary Award for Nonfiction), which was inspired by life with her grandfather, Norman Washington Manley, founder of Jamaica's first national party. Born in Cornwall, England, and raised in Jamaica, Manley now resides in Toronto.