Until Judgement Comes (Paperback)Opal Palmer Adisa
Paperback Published: 07/08/2007
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The stories in this collection move the heart and the head. They are told by an old Jamaican woman about the community that has grown up around her, the village's first inhabitant. They concern the mystery that is men: men of beauty who are as lilies of the field, men who are afraid of and despise women, brutal men who prey on women, men who are searching for their feminine side, men who have lost themselves, men trapped in sexual and religious guilt. The seven stories are structured around the wise sayings, concerning the nature of judgment, divine, but mostly human, that she remembers as her grandfather's principle legacy to her. But the stories are far from illustrative tracts for the sayings - their starting points - but free-flowing narratives that explore all the complexity of life. Again, in focusing on men, the sociological truth of Jamaican life - that many men are absentee fathers; that many boys are brought up only by their mothers - is also only a starting point for a series of sensitive and imaginative explorations of the male psyche. Above all the collection is in love with telling stories - stories within stories, the reworkings of Jamaican folktales, tall tales and myths. There is a severity about the stories in the sense that actions and inactions have consequences that cannot be evaded, but there is always some possibility of change to be found by those who look for it. Jeremiah has been driven to a state of frozen, guilty isolation by the brutality his mother has visited on him as a vicarious punishment for the sins of his father. But even he comes to realise that 'He will not be his father. He will not be his mother. He will be himself despite the memories crowding in.' These are not judgmental stories by a woman about men. Responsibility is never only on one side. There is love and understanding for the characters in these stories - love that is tough, provocative and demanding of attention, but love none the less. As Jeremiah discovers, 'Allow thyself grace and blessings will follow.'
Publisher: Peepal Tree Press Ltd