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Ever since "Abeng" was first published in 1984, Michelle Cliff has steadily become a literary force. Her novels evoke both the clearly delineated hierarchies of colonial Jamaica and the subtleties of present-day island life. Nowhere is her power felt more than in Clare Savage, her Jamaican heroine, who appeared, already grown, in "No Telephone to Heaven." "Abeng" is a kind of prequel to that highly acclaimed novel and is a small masterpiece in its own right. Here Clare is twelve years old, the light-skinned daughter of a middle-class family, growing up among the complex contradictions of class versus color, blood versus history, harsh reality versus delusion, in a colonized country. In language that surrounds us with a richness of meaning and voices, the several strands of young Clare's heritage are explored: the Maroons, who used the conch shell - the abeng - to pass messages as they fought a guerilla struggle against their English enslavers; and the legacy of Clare's white great-great-grandfather, Judge Savage, who burned his hundred slaves on the eve of their emancipation. A lyrical, explosive coming-of-age story combined with a provocative retelling of the colonial history of Jamaica, this novel is a triumph.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780452274839
ISBN-10: 0452274834
Format: Paperback
(203mm x 140mm x 20mm)
Imprint: New American Library
Publisher: Penguin Putnam Inc
Publish Date: 28-Sep-1995
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Michelle Cliff

Michelle Cliff was born in Jamaica and is the author of three acclaimed novels: Abeng, its sequel, No Telephone to Heaven, and Free Enterprise (Plume). She has also written a collection of short stories, Bodies of Water (Plume), and two poetry collections, The Land of Look Behind and Claiming an Identity They Tought Me to Despise. She is Allan K. Smith Professor of English Language and Literature at Trinity College in Connecticut and divides her time between Hartford, Connecticut, and Santa Cruz, California.

Books By Author Michelle Cliff

Into the Interior by Michelle Cliff

Into the Interior

Hardback, May 2010
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If I Could Write This in Fire by Michelle Cliff

If I Could Write This in Fire

Hardback, August 2008
$24.29
Free Enterprise by Michelle Cliff

Free Enterprise

Paperback, August 2004
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No Telephone to Heaven by Michelle Cliff

No Telephone to Heaven

Paperback, March 1998
$25.58