Strange Music by Laura Fish

Strange Music

Laura Fish

Elizabeth, wealthy aristocrat and writer, lives in Torquay. The other characters are slaves working for Elizabeth's family estate in Jamaica. Much of the story is written in patois which, at first, was a bit tricky, but don't let that put you off - it delivers a powerful story. Although Elizabeth is ill, I found her petulant and winging. I couldn't really sympathise with her, especially when comparing her life to the harsh reality of slavery.

Extract

I know not how or why Quasheba took flight, but if she was treated as one might presume Cousin Richard treated Negro women indentured for life .... Such tales have long resounded in my ears; the rape of a young woman fresh from childhood. Strangely, feeling so strongly, deeply - I feel it in my bones, in my very soul, that the missionaries were not the root of the slave uprisings nor the fall of the apprenticeship system, as Sam claimed, and that extreme violence perpetrated by women, the terrible acts of which Cousin Richard spoke, such as Negro women killing their own children, must have meant something. Something sickening. Must have been due to evils within plantation life.

Parallels
  • Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
  • The Trader, the Owner, the Slave by James Walvin