The Book of Night Women

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The Book of Night Women Fiction
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Product Description

Feared from birth for her vivid green eyes, which her fellow slaves believe to be evidence of her dark powers, young slave Lilith is both revered and avoided throughout her childhood and becomes a key to the success of a long-planned slave revolt. Reprint.

Editorial Reviews

Lilith, the central character in James's story of slave life in 19th-century Jamaica, is a green-eyed beauty who kills the first slave driver who tries to rape her. This catches the attention of the Night Women, a secret society planning to burn down the plantation and murder its white owners. But in Jamaica it is never simply a question of black against white. There are deep ethnic tensions among the different African tribes, and black overseers known as Johnny-jumpers enforce white control throughout the island. No one can be trusted. There is almost palpable sexual tension as well, and in a broader sense the rebellious Night Women also include the British wives. Jamaican slavery was notoriously sadistic, and James is writing from a female point of view, describing female reactions to violent male aggression; prurience occasionally gets the upper hand. In addition, the entire story is told in 19th-century slave dialect that is evocative but quite difficult to read. Those looking for a more detailed investigation of slavery in the West Indies should try Madison Smartt Bell's Haitian trilogy, starting with All Souls' Rising (1995). For larger collections of postcolonial fiction.—Edward B. St. John, Loyola Law Sch. Lib., Los Angeles

[Page 94]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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