Each story surrounds migrant or migrating characters seeking to negotiate life on margins, within silences, in in-between spaces. Through the memory or immediate experience of sexual encounters or love that drives or haunts their journeys, these characters are taken out of the safe places of conventional behaviour and belief, to the farthest reaches of themselves, both the heart of darkness and the quest for a larger meaning. In almost all cases the encounter involves a confrontation with death and the spiritual.
In the title story, a man, his gay lover and his wife are drawn into a ‘strange’ alliance as they struggle to deal with his impending death from AIDS. ‘Say’ and ‘Nocturne in Blue’ recount the story of a rape and its retribution from the point of view of the rapist, his victim, and her healer, in a competition of narratives leading to a shocking dénouement. In ‘For Ishmael’ the lines in the palms of a man’s hands keep changing without explanation, as he becomes embroiled in the lives and stories of others. Characters cross over into each other’s stories in uncanny networks of meeting orchestrated by a dark angel who also bears witness to these tales and the nature of stories as a form of haunting.
Curdella Forbes is Jamaican. She is currently Associate Professor in the Department of English at Howard University.