beadwork, the bones underneath show through. (Robin Davidson)
Bake-Face and other Guava Stories Opal Palmer Adisa (Flamingo Original £3.99) Four short stories constitute this, the latest ofthe Jamaican writer, Opal Palmer Adisa’s publications. Thematically, the four are linked, in that each of their female protagonists is somewhat akin to the guava fruit — hard on the outside. but soft and sweet on the inside.
Adisa places these protagonists in predicaments which are trying, to say the least. Bake-face is torn between husband and lover; Lilly is obsessed by the ghost of her grandparents; Denise loses her son and June-Plum thinks she has lost her husband. Entrapped in the repressive, semi-educated environment that is rural Jamaica, each struggles to form an identity to come to terms with her lot.
Setting aside the obvious sentimentality which disfigures ‘Me Man Angel‘ especially, and the lack of any substantial differentiation in Adisa’s heroines, this collection is otherwise an intelligent and sensitive study of the problems of repressed womanhood. Its prose is enriched by metaphor and symbolism, its evocation ofJamaican life is memorable. Below its seemingly artless simplicity lies a great deal of thought and emotion which makes each reading more rewarding than the one before. (Stuart Kay)
FATHERS T0 SONS
Forgiveness: Ireland‘s Best Contemporary Short Stories Ed. Augustine Martin (Ryan Publishing £12.95 hardback. £5.99 paperback)
‘. . . a powerhouse collection . . .‘ the cover enthuses — and one is inclined to agree. From a country which oozes literary supremacy, from the stable ofwriters. Moore and Joyce included, who created the short story
torm, comes a collection of talent from the youngest generation. The established Edna O’Brien and Bernard McLaverty, the emerging Dermot Bolger and Joseph O‘Connor, the perception of the grossly underrated Linda Anderson, respected film-maker Neil Jordan and Ireland’s heart-throb, actor Gay Byrne, each has its place in the volume.
Through these works the true nature of Ireland and Irish life,
.mainly in the Republic, is exposed, brimming with nuances, capturing the atmosphere and beauty of the country. Scenarios in the lives of ordinary people, spanning several decades, come alive and bristle with significance. Particularly impressive are the contributions of Linda Anderson, Bernard McLaverty, Sam McAughtry and Aisling Maguire.
Forgiveness tramples the horrible preconception formed by the media about Ireland. The libertine is conspicuous by his absence. Instead, the true oppressor of the people is seen to be the economic climate leading to poverty and forced emigration, laced with the intangible hold of the Church, not as a breeder of hostilities, but as a guilt-instigator.
Despite this, Ireland is shown to be an open, welcoming and sincere land. The sensitive, expressive stories with their profound, unspoken continuation, where once there was a ‘twist in the tale’ makes one wonder if Ireland is, truly, a land of forgiveness. (Susan Mackenzie)
EVEN HAPPINESS IS PROBLEMATIC
Keeper of Dreams Anna Raeburn (Bodley Head £1 1 .95) Turning her problem-harried pen to fiction, agony-aunt supremo Raeburn’s first novel does not, somehow surprisingly, read like a litany of D
One oi Oscar Marzaroii's striking black and white photographs which capture the quirky,the
dramatic. and the mundane in Scotland’s recent history. From ‘Shades otScotland 1956—1988'. published by Mainstream at £14.95.
How WOULD YOU FEEL IF YOU DIED, MISSED THE DESTRUCTION OF THE ENTIRE HUMAN
RACE, THEN WOKE UP TO FIND THAT THE CAT
IS BETTER DRESSED
Find out in
RED DWARF ‘
riNITv at. 5- UL DRIVERS
The novel that boldly goes on
runs out of petrol.
OUT NOW IN PENGUIN
The List 10— 23 November 1989 73