Saturday, July 02, 2011

I am reading The Last Warner Woman

I have just started reading this novel by Jamaican writer and poet Kei Miller It was recommended to me by friend via Facbook.  The setting of the story, up to the point that I have read, is Jamaica in 1941.

I know what a warner woman is.  I used to take the bus in Kingston, Jamaica way back when.  From time to time, someone would come on with the warning to repent or else.  It was annoying to be going home from school and to be forced to listen to the loud warnings.  I think most of us passengers would lump all these clap-hand-jump-up-shout-out Christians as a little crazy prior to the dawn of the charismatic movement in the "regular" churches.   Once middle class people, including myself, in "regular" churches embraced "clap-hand-jump-up-shout-out", the warners didn't sound so crazy.

I am only on page 30 and so far there is a little craziness going on in this story.  I have met these characters: the original Pearline Portious, Monsignor Dennis and Mother Lazarus. 

Pearline likes to crochet using colored yarn and is having difficulty selling the colored crochet doilies yet refuses to crochet white doilies. Sixty-five year old Monsignor Dennis is in charge of a leprosarium and  finally buys a purple crochet doily from Pearline plus he orders additional crocheted items; still not clear what the items are or for what they are used. Agatha, over 85years old known as Mother Lazarus, works and lives at the leprosarium; she gives the injections to the patients and rubs their skin with chaulmoogra oil.  She is recruiting the "sweet- spirited"  Pearline to live and work with the lepers. By page 18, I am introduced briefly to another Pearline Portious who is known as Adamine Bustamante.  Adamine was born at the lepreosarium. She reveals in pages 18 to 22 that the story I read in the first seventeen pages is Mr. Writer Man's version of Adamine's story. Stay with me now. Parts of the story told were inaccurate. Have I lost you yet?  The location of the leprosarium, for example, is Writer Man's invention. This is a story within a story.

I like the flow of the language so far.  This would be by dream job: to read this book for the audio-book version.  Let me put it out in the universe.

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