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Senior, Olive

stories discerner child hearts

(Jamaican, 1941– )

Senior's Summer Lightning and Other Stories (1986) won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. Here she re-creates the life of rural Jamaica in all its colour- and class-conscious complexity, employing the full range of West Indian idiom and humour. One memorable aspect of the stories is the portrait of the child trying to make sense of the adult world. Not that the child always loses out, as evidenced in the much-anthologized piece ‘Do Angels Wear Brassieres?’—a question put by a knowing little girl to the rather complacent visiting Archdeacon. Senior's other two collections, Arrival of the Snake-Woman and Other Stories (1989) and Discerner of Hearts (1995), extend her story-telling techniques and confirm the humour and wit. This is the card of the character who informs the 1995 collection: ‘Father Burnham, M.H.C., G.M.M.W., D.D., K.R.G.D., Bringer of Light, Professor of Peace, Restorer of Confidence, Discerner of Hearts, Consultation and Advice. The Man. Our Man.’

Pauline Melville, Lawrence Scott. See CARIBBEAN  EM

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