The Ladies Are Upstairs by Merle Collins

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From the 1930s through the dawning of a new century, these tender and moving stories underscore living life with style and hidden steel despite one’s circumstances and warn against disregarding the past struggles of others. Doux Thibaut negotiates a hard life on the Caribbean island of Paz, confronting the shame of poverty and illegitimacy, the hazards of sectarianism on an island segregated into Catholics and Protestants, and the injustices of racism and classism. As an old lady moving between the homes of her children in Boston and New York, Doux wonders whether they and her grandchildren really appreciate what her engagement with life has taught her. In The Ladies Are Upstairs, Merle Collins has created a mosaic novel from these stories of a Caribbean woman’s life, demanding that such lives not be forgotten.

About Merle Collins

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Merle Collins is a professor of comparative literature and English at the University of Maryland. She is the author of Angel, Because the Dawn Breaks, The Colour of Forgetting, Rain Darling, and Rotten Pomerack. Her critical works have appeared in From My Guy to Sci-Fi: Genre and Women's Writing in the Postmodern World and Slavery and Abolition. Her literary work has appeared in Penguin Modern Poets Volume 8 and The Oxford Book of Caribbean Short Stories.
Published September 1, 2011 by Peepal Tree Press Ltd.. 160 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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In Caribbean poet and novelist Collins's newest, a collection comprising a novella ("Rain Darling") and a novel-in-stories, the works' memorable female leads—Rain and Doux, respectively—face numerous hardships on the island of Paz in the 1930s.

Mar 19 2012 | Read Full Review of The Ladies Are Upstairs

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