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Publishers WeeklyCliff's body of short fiction is amassed in this elegant collection in which ancestral misdeeds-slavery, witch hunts-return to haunt the present. In "My Grandmother's Eyes," a Jamaican immigrant's grandson pieces together the story of his grandmother, who came to America illegally by banana boat in 1923. Plucky and resourceful, she made her way as a dancer in Harlem, had fabulous adventures and many marriages, and bequeathed to her descendants a flair for the unconventional. The title story, echoing a quote by Toni Morrison, records a poignant meeting of a psychically gifted narrator, who is anticipating a rendezvous with her lover, and a bereft woman who seems to have time-traveled from the 1940s, still holding the telegram informing her that her soldier-lover was killed in action. "While Underneath" is the chilling account by an academic teaching at a Connecticut college who discovers that the school's subterranean network of tunnels (allegedly part of Underground Railroad) was the site of a hushed-up gang rape. Cliff is undeniably in control of her material, and even if some pieces feel too stylistically mannered, she uses fiction to elucidating effect.
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