Ladies of the Night

This book of short stories reveals the intimate acts committed under the shade of the moon. But after night comes the cruel dawn light when your best friend is your husband’s lover, your mother is your pimp, the eyes on your body belong to a peeping tom and life’s entrapments are cruel. During daylight the characters find the determination and strength to continue. Despite their pain and the seeming lack of autonomy Prince’s characters exhibit, they survive somehow. Miss Peggy’s mother sold her at age 12 for $20 dollars to a stranger. Her tale, however, evolves into pride for the profession she didn’t choose and a lifetime of loyalty. Prince’s characters engage in emotional games; they lie, cheat, betray and love with the best and the worst. The fight is never absent as these ladies weave their way through the streets of both Antigua and Toronto. The older generation informs the new: “You rice should have peas in it-either red beans or pigeon peas or black-eye peas. De pot must have just enough grease, a little piece of pig-mouth or salt beef and de rice should be grainy.” Men like their fungie smooth, and their rice grainy. A new generation of women doesn’t want to wash and cook for their man. The old crashes into the new. Fists up: “Do men and women love so . . . here? Then why do they hate so? Hit so? Leave so? Is there a malaise of commitment?” This collection leaves your senses stinging of the taste, heat, sounds, and struggles that envelope the ladies of the night. (heze douglas)

by Althea Prince, $21.95, 175 pgs, Insomniac Press, 192 Spadina Ave., Suite 403, Toronto, ON, M5T 2C2, insomniacpress.com

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