Gather the Faces
Marvella Payne is twenty-seven, works as a secretary for British Rail and has pledged to the congregation of the Church of the Holy Spirit that she will abstain from sex before marriage. When she repulses the groping hands of the trainee-deacon, Carlton Springle, she resigns herself to growing old with her mother, father and Bible-soaked aunts.
Beryl Gilroy
ISBN number
Fiction, Novel
Country setting
United Kingdom
Publication date
01 Jul 1996

But Aunt Julie has other ideas and finds Marvella a penfriend from her native Guyana. When good fortune allows the couple to meet, Marvella awakens to new possibilities as she realises how bound she has been by the voices of her dependent, cossetted childhood. But will marriage be another entrapment, another loss of self?

Mary Conde writes: 'Gather the Faces is essentially the story of Marvella’s redefinition of herself in relation to her friends, her family and her native Guyana. Its great triumph is in its language, in such observations as ""... when one of my uncles got married, it took off his spirit like a jacket,"" and ""Faith had returned with its feather duster."" It is an entertaining, tender and moving story.'

Phyllis Briggs-Emmanuel writes in The Caribbean Writer: 'Gather the Faces has a happy ending and is written with Gilroy’s characteristic clarity of description and fluency of language. Its optimism shimmers, its spirituality glows in the beautiful verses quoted from the Biblical Song of Songs, and the reader is revivified as faith in love is restored.'

Beryl Gilroy came to London over fifty years ago from Guyana. She wrote six novels, two autobiographical books and was a pioneering teacher and psychotherapist. Sadly, she died in 2000 at the age of 76.


Beryl Gilroy

Born in what was then British Guiana, Beryl Gilroy moved to the UK in the1950s, part of the Windrush generation. She was the author of six novels, two autobiographical books, and she was a pioneering teacher and psychotherapist, becoming London’s first black headteacher.
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