Paule Marshall takes us on a journey through a portion of her life by recounting stories of the people and places that served as inspiration for her writing. This short memoir is centered around bodies of water and demonstrates the effects of these expansions on the lives and culture of americans. She begins by telling a heartwarming story about her ties with the great poet Langston Hughes and her travels to Europe while on tour with him to discuss African-American literature. In a descriptive and very accessible style, we learn of her Carribean roots and the great characters in her family, her ties to Virginia and Nigeria, all of which she ties into inspiration for her novels and short stories.
This book is as much a peak into history as it is a life story. She recounts the civil rights movement, the slave trade, and emigration into New York City through Ellis Island or by hopping on a steamer headed for “Big America” in the 1920s.
Other books by Paule Marshall that I have waiting in the wings:
Brown Girl, Brownstones (I have the Feminist Press edition. It has also been printed as a Virago Modern Classic [VMC])