In this impressive first collection of short stories, Hazel Simmons-McDonald presents a deft exploration of class, of how values are shaped by religion, and of the tensions that undergird family life. She makes a place for voices hitherto not heard and creates characters who closely guard the secrets of their hearts but who through her narrative dexterity come to experience moments of truth and clarity of memory.
Simmons-McDonald’s energetic prose not only captures the polylinguistic character of St Lucian society but it also creates a space for the exploration of an Eastern Caribbean brand of magical realism. With polished assurance, she weaves folk beliefs into the fabric of her stories, creating memorable tales marked by notes of sadness yet balanced by tenderness and joy. Simmons-McDonald takes the reader on a journey where the familiar and the unfamiliar sit side by side, where the spirit world is always present, and where at all times we are reminded of the universal reach of love and hope.
“I cannot think of a single work with such a wide and complex appeal. While many West Indian writers . . . explore the same worlds as Hazel Simmons-McDonald, none of them bring out the issues of childhood and family intertwined with religious, environmental, and social conditions with such surgical grace. The calmness of the style leads the reader into worlds of joy, or pain and horror made visible and bearable by the calculated moderation, exactitude, and poignancy of the diction.”—Jean D'Costa, Leavenworth Professor of English Emerita, Hamilton College
Mirror . . . . 6
The Flowering of Rosa . . . . 15
Mav’s Meditations . . . . 30
Virgo . . . . 44
Savi’s Trial . . . . 57
Photo – Take 3 . . . . 69
Torn Pages . . . . 79
Dear Departed . . . . 96
Imogene . . . . 109
Boloms . . . . 122
Tapestry . . . . 132Acknowledgements . . . 145