Black Dogs and the Colour Yellow
In this superb collection of short stories, Christine Barrow peels back the genteel, respectable surface of Barbadian life and exposes the passions, rebelliousness and dissatisfactions smouldering underneath.
Christine Barrow
ISBN number
Fiction, Short Stories
Country setting
United Kingdom
Publication date
30 Aug 2018

An uptight professor is forced to acknowledges his gayness through an encounter that threatens to destroy his sedate existence; four women meet, and in their interactions, reveal the desires and discords, as well as the challenges and choices that modern Caribbean women are faced with; a grandmother makes a pilgrimage with her granddaughter to the Panama Canal to uncover the history of a lost father.
Barrow offers us a complex, multi-layered world ranging from the university campus, the homes of the suburban middle class to the villages where her characters’ lives still revolve around the obligations and constraints of family and  kinship, and the acknowledgment of unseen presences.
The attractions of emigration, the ever-present awareness of the island’s smallness, the tensions and  divergencies of class and culture, the differences of age and gender are important and keenly observed themes that thread Barrow’s work.
These are crafted stories with a satisfying shapeliness to them, offering the pleasures of the sharply observed image, and sentences that capture in their rhythms the whole of Barbadian life.


“Beneath the surface of these warm and welcoming stories of ordinary people living their lives lie unsettling yellow undercurrents of loneliness, grief, disrespect and injustice, obeah potions to trick and tie, a beguiling mermaid and ever-present black dogs. Listen carefully: a world within a world echoes in these short stories from Christine Barrow. Here, the unmuffled pulse of Barbados beats. Barrow brings us scenes of family squabbles, bitterly unhappy housewives, superstitious salt-of-the-earth grandmothers, disillusioned scholars burning with subterranean desires, alongside young men brined and buttressed by the sea. Each story skillfully unmasks the lie of an ordinary life, or an ordinary island: these characters wrestle with the ghosts of the Panama Canal; they grow up motherless and rudderless, reaching across the Atlantic towards England, their navel strings planted deep in St. Lucy and Bridgetown. Barrow artfully arrests miniature details – a too-sharp crochet hook; a glinting pearl pendant; sea glass that sparkles in sunlight – and from these fragments and slivers she assembles potent realities. In stories that show how Barbadian history seeps into the rum, rebellion and rhythm of contemporary life, her prose confronts the weight of plantocracy and its embedded privilege.” – Shivanee Ramlochan.


Christine Barrow

Christine Barrow was born in the UK, and lived in Barbados for nearly fifty years where she worked as an academic in Caribbean Social Development at the University of the West Indies. Since retiring she has concentrated on writing short fiction, and has recently returned to live in the UK (Brighton).
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