Synopses & Reviews
A lyrical coming-of-age story and a provocative retelling of the colonial history of Jamaica
Originally published in 1984, this critically acclaimed novel is the story of Clare Savage, a light-skinned, twelve-year-old, middle-class girl growing up in Jamaica in the 1950s. As she tries to find her own identity and place in her culture, Clare carries the burden of her mixed heritage. There are the Maroons, who used the conch shellthe abengto pass messages as they fought against their English enslavers. And there is her white great-great-grandfather, Judge Savage, who burned his hundred slaves on the eve of their emancipation. In Clare's struggle to reconcile the conflicting legacies of her own personal lineage, esteemed Caribbean author Michelle Cliff dramatically confronts the cultural and psychological violence inflicted upon the island and its people by colonialism.
"The beauty and authority of her writing are coupled with profound insight."
"Her keen eye for detail and pithy anecdotal descriptions bring Jamaica's present and past to life."
The New York Times Book Review
"Powerful and often lyrican important work."
About the Author
Michelle Cliff was born in Jamaica and is the author of three acclaimed novels: Abeng, its sequel, No Telephone to Heaven, and Free Enterprise. She has also written two collections of short stories, Bodies of Water and The Store of a Million Items, and two poetry collections.