A major phenomenon in the recent development of Caribbean literature has been the emergence of a fairly large number of women writers who are taking over from a predominantly male tradition and filling the gap caused by the failure of new significant male fiction writers to appear after the first wave from the fifties to the seventies. Janice Shinebourne's remarkable first novel partakes of this flowering of new talents. It is, to use an expression of her countryman Wilson Harris, an 'act of memory', initiated by the protagonist-narrator's visit to her native village in Guyana. Pheasant, a village in the canefields of the Berbice area has been wiped out by the mechanization of estate work in both canefields and factory. When Sandra Yansen returns, the one family still living there do not remember the past, and there is only her own family's 'dying house', a ruin symbolical of the vanished close-knit community, to signal the 'unperturbed presence' of familiar ghosts.



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