Palmares by  Gayl Jones


Gayl Jones

A disturbing, coming of age story of a young slave girl in 17th century Brazil, seeking to find her identity. As she is moved from plantation to plantation she hears of a place called Palmares where former slaves are said to be free. But is it the paradise it seems? This complex tale is told in a dispassionate way, but is woven with magic realism and mysticism. bringing a sense of hope to an otherwise bleak struggle.


'Is grandmother a witch?' I asked, for that hum sounded exactly like hers.

'A witch?' she repeated.

It was then that grandmother peeked her head in the door. I'll swear it's so, but mother says I was merely daydreaming.

'A witch? I wouldn't be a witch,' she said. 'A sorceress is the thing to be. A witch is nothing.'

'Mother, don't talk so,' my mother said, but she swears it's not so, that I was merely daydreaming.

But I remember it exactly like that. I kept looking at my grandmother.

She winked at me.  She said, 'But a curer of those who have been bewitched is the best thing to be.'


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