"Trying to catch a flowing river in a calabash" is how Margaret Busby, editor of Daughters of Africa
, describes assembling this impressively broad collection of writings by women of African descent. Early selections include songs from sub-Saharan Africa and ancient Egypt that carve out a heritage. Later writings are poignant, infuriating, or simply enjoyable. Nisa, a !Kung woman from Botswana, tells of her family's consternation over her reluctance to marry at the respectable age of 12. Carolia Maria de Jesus writes movingly of life in the Brazilian favelas
, shantytown slums where she raised her children. And Alice Childress, a talented American writer and actress, contributes a hilarious one-sided conversation in which a brassed-off maid sets her employer straight regarding their decidedly nonfamilial relationship. Drawing on so many cultures strains the connecting thread, but makes the book richly rewarding.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Geographically this voluminous collection is diverse, including women writers who were born or reside in, or who are associated with, African, Caribbean, North and South American, and European countries. But chronologically it heavily favors 20th-century writers, especially contemporary authors. The ancient tradition section fea tures Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut and Queen of Sheba Makeda, while slave narratives dominate the 19th-century period--many already published in their entirety as part of the excellent Schomburg Library of Nineteenth Century Black Women Writers (Oxford). Accompanying each author are brief biographical sketches, a reading list, and a bibliography of additional anthologies and critical works. Largely because of these scholarly additions, Busby's comprehensive anthology is an invaluable text for courses on women writers and writers of African descent. Recommended. Pre viewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/92.- Faye A. Chadwell, Univ. of South Carolina Lib., Columbia
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