Painting Pictures features eight stories of discovery, betrayal and passion. The stories depict the emotional turmoil that results from decisions: a little girl who migrates to Canada on a hot August day is flabbergasted to discover there is no snow; a graphic designer leaves her husband each morning to meet her lover; an inconsolable heartbreak leads a woman to the brink of sanity as she desperately wanders city streets seeking answers in dark places; a young woman gives a touching eulogy to the woman who raised her; a wife is torn between her love for her husband and his brother; a college graduate moves across the country to keep a secret and recover from the lover who abandoned her, only to meet him again; a young woman experiences the joy of first love, its passionate awakening, and the moment when it's questioned; and three women bond while shopping for dresses for their fictional weddings.
In these stories, set in Canada and the Caribbean, day-to-day incidents set the stage for events that will impact and change lives.
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PAINTING PICTURES is a collection of lyrical stories of love and betrayal, reflection and reconciliation in Canada and Antigua, the adopted and native homelands author Gayle Gonsalves shares with her female narrators. As one of them observes: “Antigua always brings me back to my centre.”
Through a clever appropriation of the techniques of visual art, Gonsalves enriches her narrative by evoking the colours, textures and shapes of her island’s art. And the “true colour” behind these painted words is a multi-hued rainbow: a woman whose copper skin is a “true Caribbean pepperpot;” dark feelings conveyed without reds, oranges and pinks; and suffering rendered as a colourlessness that “digs so deep into my psyche that it screams my pain.”
The emotional hurting that is PAINTING PICTURES’ subtext – “I have lived my whole life with each foot in an unmatched shoe. And I’ve walked with uneven footsteps” – is nuanced and beautifully depicted as tears mingle with mirth and the joy of such small victories as the nightly poem that transforms Antiguan jumbies (unquiet spirits of the dead) into protectors as they “quietly creep Into the bed where you lay, Keeping you safe for another day.”
In PAINTING PICTURES, Gayle Gonsalves has created a literary kaleidoscope in black and white.
Elizabeth Abbott, author of Sugar: A Bittersweet History.
Gayle Gonsalves writes like the wind: a gust blows around you in words so well put together that they whip around your head, your ears, your eyes and your senses all at the same time. There is art in the way this writer builds your understanding of a character, a scene, or a relationship, leaving you aching to know more than can be contained within the pages of a book. You are left with the feeling that the stories will come back again another day; until then, the characters continue to haunt you.
Dr. Althea Prince, Author.