Tongues on Fire: Caribbean Lesbian Lives and Stories Review

Tongues on Fire: Caribbean Lesbian Lives and Stories
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Tongues on Fire: Caribbean Lesbian Lives and Stories ReviewThis book is based on a collection of interviews and due to use of colloquialisms and caribbean speech patterns, can be difficult for some to read. Tongues on Fire is actually two books, one a collection of life stories, and the other, a collection of short fiction, written by Lesbian Caribbean authors. In my opinion, this book may have been more effective if actually edited as two separate collections. It was amazing to think that these stories reflected the experiences of modern day caribbean lesbian lives... in my mind, the experiences outlined seemed to come from the 40's and 50's. The fictional stories were far more palatable that the biographical ones, being less shocking, sweeter and, in some cases, stories that we, as American lesbians can identify with. Tongues on Fire reveals a very strong soul of survival in the lives it depicts. It makes clear a much greater fluidity of definition for lesbianism as seen by Caribbean and/or West Indian women. It brings to mind the importance of economic freedom and independence and reminds us (amazingly) how fortunate women are in the US to have more control and more choices in our lives. Tongues on Fire illustrated clearly how the lack of either of these factors can leave some women with very little choice in life. Many of the lesbians featured in this book were or are married. Most felt that they had no choice other than to have a man in their life. This is a totally different culture and attitude than the one to which many lesbians in the US are accustomed. This book touches on a wide array of issues from the definition of lesbianism, to coming out, to bisexuality, to prostitution and many issues in between. You may not love this book, but it's probably going to give you pause to think about who you are and where you came from.Tongues on Fire: Caribbean Lesbian Lives and Stories OverviewIn this groundbreaking anthology, Caribbean women tell their personal stories of loving women. Through interviews and stories they reveal their hidden histories, their secret longings and sexual awakenings. Rosamund Elwin has put together a fine collection that includes well-known writers such as Michelle Cliff, Shani Mootoo and Makeda Silvera and also the voices of women who are not writers. Women who are mothers, poor or illiterate share their experiences with candour. From Trinidad to Toronto, these Caribbean lesbians are linked by their loud clear voices.
As Rosamund Elwin writes in her introduction, "Though it can be argued that lesbian experiences have similarities across the globe, the circumstances of our lives, the ways of telling, the language used to tell, the words chosen and the rhythm of those words, make our individual stories different and interesting".

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