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Parable of the Mangoes

Sixty per cent of Jamaicans would rather the country be a colony of Britain, so a poll says. But is ‘Massa Day Done’? Jean Golbourne’s ‘Parable of the Mangoes’ short story collection will make you wonder. Get your copy now.

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    These 12 stories express a love of the land, a commitment to the development of the nation and a sympathetic and compassionate understanding of the lives of a people whose ancestors experienced the harsh circumstances of colonisation and slavery.

    As historian, Jean Goulbourne has an academic knowledge of a society that is based on an Africa world-view. She uses this knowledge to creatively explore the reality of the present cultural, political and societal issues without being pedantic.

    The simplicity of her language belies the depth of the central message of each story making them at the same time accessible to all readers.

    The tree, as in African cultures, is symbolic of life firmly rooted in the ground. In these stories the mango tree is a central image of strength transferred to a local context. The cover design is explicit. The hand reaching for the mango, which sustains the life of many of the poor, speaks to survival and a search to get hold of and own one’s self.

    The journey from slavery to independence has been a long and difficult one that one needs to ask the question as in Massa Day Done if some of the conditions of the past are not still existent in the present. The prejudices against skin colour and the acquisition of knowledge as in The Naming of a Thing result in a deep-seated anger in a people that is shown through the revengeful action of the protagonist in Mountaintop. (Jean Small PhD)

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