In her lovingly written, richly imaginative and effortlessly joyful memoir, poet Lorna Goodison weaves the history of her family - ’the fabulous Harvey girls’ - with the history of Jamaica. It is a powerful love letter to the people and places that have shaped her. ’Throughout her life my mother lived in two places at once: Kingston, Jamaica, where she raised a family of nine children, and Harvey River, in the parish of Hanover, where she was born and grew up.’ When Lorna’s great-grandfather, William Harvey, discovered a clearing at the end of a path trodden by the feet of escaping slaves, he gave his name to what was to become his family’s home for generations. For Lorna’s mother Doris, Jamaica’s Harvey River was the place she always called home, where she was one of the ’fabulous Harvey girls’ and the rich local bounty of yams, pimentos and mangoes went hand in hand with the Victorian niceties and comforts of her parents’ house. Years later, when her fortunes changed, it was a place she returned to in her dreams…She and her husband relocated to ’hard life’ Kingston and encountered the harsh realities of urban living in close quarters as they raise their family of nine children. Peopled with a cast of wonderfully drawn characters and written in a lush, vivid prose textured with the cadences of Creole, Lorna Goodison’s memoir weaves together memory and island lore to create a vivid and irresistible tapestry.
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