Author: Leone Ross
Publisher: Peepal Tree
In Leone Ross’s luminous collection of short stories – ranging from richly extended stories to intense pieces of flash fiction, set between Jamaica and Britain – anything can happen.
Ross’s setting may be familiar and her characters recognisable, but these stories take a magical/fantastical turn that dramatically transforms the way we see. Other stories draw us straight into the world of the fantastical or the implausible with such meticulous and concrete detail that we accept these as reality: a wife returns from the dead and their marital bickering resumes, a headless girl barely lifts an eyebrow among her school companions, a security guard collects discarded hymens and uncovers a deeper empathy for women.
At the heart of the stories is Leone Ross’s refusal to accept any boundary between the erotic and the most inventive kind of pornography. There is a seriousness here too, in the author’s intentions: a vision of the fluidity of the person, the inequalities of the body politic – from the deaths of black people at the hands of the police, to the deep shifts that signal subtle changes in the nature of capitalism.
This is a richly varied, witty and entertaining collection whose frankness may sometimes tickle, sometimes shock; but always engages the intellect and the heart.