Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Amazon's Book Reviews: Caribbean Authors — Olive Senior

Olive Marjorie Senior (born 23 December 1941) is a Jamaican poet, novelist, short story and non-fiction writer currently living in Toronto, Canada. Born in rural Jamaica in in Trelawny, Cockpit Country, the seventh of ten children, she attended to Montego Bay High School For Girls. At the age of 19 she joined the staff of the Jamaica Gleaner in Kingston and later with the Jamaica Information Service. Senior later won a scholarship from the Thomson Foundation to study journalism in Cardiff, Wales. As a Commonwealth scholar she attended Carleton University School of Journalism in Ottawa, Canada, where she earned a degree in 1967. -- Read more:

This is a review for The Pain Tree by Olive Senior - Book Description: Olive Senior’s new collection of stories, The Pain Tree, is wide-ranging in scope, time period, theme, locale, and voice. There is — along with her characteristic “gossipy voice” — reverence, wit and wisdom, satire, humour, and even farce. The stories range over at most a hundred years, from around the time of the second world war to the present. Like her earlier stories, Jamaica is the setting but the range of characters presented are universally recognisable as people in crisis or on the cusp of transformation. Read more:

This is a review for Dying to Better Themselves: West Indians and the Building of the Panama Canal by Olive Senior - The popular West Indian migration narrative often starts with the "Windrush Generation" in 1950's England, but in Dying to Better Themselves Olive Senior examines an earlier narrative: that of the neglected post-emancipation generation of the 1850's who were lured to Panama by the promise of lucrative work and who initiated a pattern of circular migration that would transform the islands economically, socially and politically well into the twentieth century. West Indians provided the bulk of the workforce for the construction of the Panama Railroad and the Panama Canal, and between 1850 and 1914 untold numbers sacrificed their lives, limbs and mental faculties to the Panama projects. Many West Indians remained as settlers, their descendants now citizens of Panama; many returned home with enough of a nest egg to better themselves; and others launched themselves elsewhere in the Americas as work beckoned. Senior tells the compelling story of the West Indian rite of passage of "Going to Panama" and captures the complexities behind the iconic "Colon Man". Drawing on official records, contemporary newspapers, journals and books, songs, sayings, and literature, and the words of the participants themselves, Senior answers the questions as to who went to Panama, how and why; she describes the work they did there, the conditions under which they lived, the impact on their homelands when they returned or on the host societies when they stayed. Read more:

This is a review for Gardening in the Tropics by Olive Senior - Book Description: Gardening in the Tropics contains a rich Caribbean world in poems offered to readers everywhere. Olive Senior's rich vein of humour can turn wry and then sharp in satire of colour-consciousness, class-consciousness and racism. But her predominant tone is the verbal equivalent of a pair of wide-open arms. Praise for Olive Senior's work "The thing that immediately strikes one is her control of tone — like a singer having perfect pitch." — E.A. Markham. Read more:

This is a review for Encyclopedia Of Jamaican Heritage by Olive Senior - Olive Senior's work is an excellent overview of Jamaican culture and heritage. As a Jamaican whose (heritage-bug was late in blooming)I am in a position to assimilate and examine the material at the same time and I have found the entries very comprehensive, concise and interesting. Read more:

This is a review for Arrival of the Snake-Woman by Olive Senior - Book Description: The Toronto author's Jamaican birthplace provides the setting for these powerful and poignant 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 and her characters emerge as triumphant examples of the human spirit unravelling the complex weave of race, class, and cultural and ethnic identity. Read more:

Olive Senior performs at Words Aloud 9 - video by WordsAloud2

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