Giftus John’s Ma William and her Circle of Friends recreates the idyllic life in the village of Senjo with a shopkeeper, Ma William, at its center. Her shop is a mecca of sorts; one where the villagers assemble to discuss the issues that impact their lives. John constructs an edenic landscape where communal activities such as playing mas’, helping the local fishermen, attending mass, or going to a religious wake occupy center stage in the lives of the villagers. However, the impression of a settled and close-knit village is illusory. Politics fragments the community. Migration takes a toll as young and old seek supposedly greener pastures. The village is slowly changing as a result of these external forces. The reader is left to wonder whether or not these changes are indeed for the better. Written with great sensitivity and attention to local speech rhythms, Giftus John’s most recent work recreates a life which is slowly witnessing its demise. This book confirms John’s reputation as one of Dominica’s finest writers.
Justice Irving W. André
Giftus John has done it again! His Ma William and Her Circle of Friends continues his great tradition of entertaining and enlightening Caribbean prose. This is a must-read for people of the Caribbean and for those who love the Caribbean or want an education in Caribbean culture.
Vaughn E. James
Glenn West Research Professor of Law and Director, Tax Clinic
Texas Tech University School of Law