Gardam, Jane. Black Faces, White Faces. New York: Abacus, 1975.
Reason read: Gardam’s birth month is July.
Black Faces, White Faces loosely links together ten short stories, all taking place in Jamaica; all involving vacationing Brits completely out of their comfort zones. What is special about Black Faces is that Gardam interlocks details as well as characters. For example, a character in one story leaves behind a toy. Another character from another story finds it.
“Babe Jude” – encountering crude vacationers & a language barrier.
“Missus Moon” – foreigners witnessing a funeral.
“Best Day of My Easter Holidays” – a boy’s essay about meeting crazy man Jolly Jackson.
“The Pool Boy” – Lady Fletcher doesn’t want to be so prim and proper.
“The Weeping Child” – Mrs. Ingram tells the story of the ghost of someone who is still alive.
The House Above Newcastle” -Newlyweds Boofey and Pussy are unrecognizable to each other on their honeymoon.
“Saul Alone” – a sad story about a stroke victim observing the people around him.
“The First Declension” – a wife suspects her husband of having an affair while he visits Jamaica.
“Something To tell the Girls” – two teachers on holiday in the mountains of Jamaica.
“Monique” – a woman mourning the loss of her lover.
Quotes I liked: from “Babe Jude” – “He foresaw an agitated lunch and felt depressed” (p 6), from “Best Day of My Easter Holidays” – “We seemed somehow after a very long time to get back to the same place, I don’t know how” (p 19), and from “The Weeping Child” – “Imagination was her rarest occupation” (p 34).
Author fact: Gardam is a Fellow of the Royal British Society of Literature and an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
Book trivia: Black Faces was a little harder to get from a library. I requested my copy from the Boston Public Library.
BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “Jane Gardam: Too Good To Miss” (p 96).
July. Summertime. Lots of music (starting with you guessed it, Phish). Lots of running (hopefully all outdoors). Lots of travel, lots of play. Plenty of reading:
- Milk in My Coffee by Eric Jerome Dickey (in honor of National Cow Appreciation Day on the 14th. I kid you not.)
- Disco for the Departed by Colin Cotterill (#3 – to continue the series started in May in honor of Rocket Day)
- The Last Battle by Cornelius Ryan (#3 – to continue the series started in June for D-Day)
- Cranford (AB) by Elizabeth Gaskell (in honor of Swan Upping. If you don’t know about this day, check it out. It’s fascinating. Or you can wait for my review when I’ll explain the practice.)
- Black Faces, White Faces by Jane Gardam (in honor of Gardam’s birth month)
As an aside, I have read the last two Cotterills in a day each, so I know I need to add at least one or two more books to the list. I’m off to the great unknown for vacation so when I get back I’ll probably have to revisit this list.
Also, I should note that I won another Early Review book from LibraryThing, but since its not here yet I won’t promise to read it. 😉