A man’s country may be cramped of vast according to the size of his heart. I’ve never found my country too small, though that isn’t to say my heart is great. And if I could choose it’s here in Guadeloupe that I’d be born again, suffer and die. Yet not long back my ancestors were slaves on this volcanic, hurricane-swept, mosquito -ridden, nasty-minded island. But I didn’t come into the world to weigh the world’s woe. I prefer to dream, on and on, standing in my garden, just like any other old woman of my age, till death comes and takes me as I dream, me and and all my joy.
When I was a child my mother, Victory, often talked to me about my grandmother Toussine. She spoke of her with fervor and veneration: Toussine, she’d say, was a woman who helped you hold your head up, and people with this gift are rare. My mother’s reverence for Toussine was such I came to regard her as some mythical being not of this world, so that for me she was legendary even while still alive.
–by Simone Schwarz-Bart