Ma William and Her Circle of Friends

Giftus John’s Ma William and her Circle of Friends recreates the idyllic life in the village of Senjo with a shopkeeper, Ma William, at its center. Her shop is a mecca of sorts; one where the villagers assemble to discuss the issues that impact their lives. John constructs an edenic landscape where communal activities such as playing mas’, helping the local fishermen, attending mass, or going to a religious wake occupy center stage in the lives of the villagers. However, the impression of a settled and close-knit village is illusory. Politics fragments the community. Migration takes a toll as young and old seek supposedly greener pastures. The village is slowly changing as a result of these external forces. The reader is left to wonder whether or not these changes are indeed for the better. Written with great sensitivity and attention to local speech rhythms, Giftus John’s most recent work recreates a life which is slowly witnessing its demise. This book confirms John’s reputation as one of Dominica’s finest writers.

Leave a Comment