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The Sides of the Sea - Caribbean Women Writing Diaspora

The Sides of the Sea

Caribbean Women Writing Diaspora

By Johanna X. K. Garvey
Series: Caribbean Studies Series

Hardcover : 9781496850706, 256 pages, October 2024
Paperback : 9781496850713, 256 pages, October 2024
Expected to ship: 2024-10-15
Expected to ship: 2024-10-15

Table of contents

Introduction: The Caribbean Atlantic: Trauma, Relation, Resistance
Part One: Plumbing the Depths
Chapter 1: Watery Webs Weave Stories: Unblocking the Salt Roads in Marshall, Cliff, and Hopkinson
Chapter 2: Oceanic Ossuaries: Caribbean Women Reading the Bones
Part Two: Voicing the Wounds
Chapter 3: Words to Heal the Wounds: Amnesia, Madness, and Silence as Testimony in Haitian Women’s Fiction
Chapter 4: “I Hear the Voice”: Performing the African Diaspora in Brodber and Hurston
Part Three: Unsettling Borders
Chapter 5: Mapping the Body: Caribbean Migrations in Tessa McWatt’s Fiction
Chapter 6: Caribbean Boundary Crossings: Undoing the Violence of Borders in Santos-Febres and Lara
Conclusion: Beyond the Door: Journeys to the Free
Works Cited

An essential study focused on theories of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality in the work of contemporary Caribbean women writers


In The Sides of the Sea: Caribbean Women Writing Diaspora, Johanna X. K. Garvey examines the works of contemporary writers from eight Caribbean countries, including Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Dominican Republic. Authors from Anglophone, Francophone, and Spanish-speaking countries illustrate experiences across the African Diaspora, including enslavement, colonialism, revolt, marronnage, and decolonization. Characters in fiction and poetry by such writers as Erna Brodber, Jan J. Dominique, Mayra Santos-Febres, Tessa McWatt, and Dionne Brand confront trauma, engage in struggle, forge connection, and act as agents of change.

Complicating categories of identification and employing multiple strategies of resistance, these Caribbean women writers show us paths out of and beyond the binaries embedded in colonialism and its aftermath. As their texts remember moments and sites of trauma beginning with the Middle Passage, they embark on new passages, claim oceanic spaces, and suggest directions that stretch beyond the Black Atlantic to a more complex understanding of how to “pull the sides of the sea together” in the twenty-first century.

The Sides of the Sea is organized in three sections: “Plumbing the Depths,” which examines representations of the Middle Passage and its legacies; “Voicing the Wounds,” which explores genealogies, inherited trauma, and potential healing; “Unsettling Borders,” which discusses decolonial epistemologies, transgressive sexualities, and new visions of citizenship.


"The Sides of the Sea: Caribbean Women Writing Diaspora breaks new ground in the scope and perspectives of its various analyses and will be a worthy addition to the library of studies of Caribbean women’s literature."

- H. Adlai Murdoch, author of Creolizing the Metropole: Migrant Caribbean Identities in Literature and Film