Stories of black women in the Caribbean and as immigrants in Canada, where this book was originally published: a US debut of a promising writer who draws her characters from a range of Trinidadian social classes, with diction and prose rhythms to match. These are mostly character sketches, memoir-like fictions and slice-of-life stories, usually related in a realistic mode--though in ""Sans Souci,"" Brand uses metaphor and poetic writing to approach the world of Claudine, an island woman of tenuous sanity, overwhelmed by her long-term connection with the man who raped her as a child. In Canada, Brand's women take care of white children, are insulted in train stations; one finds success and release by becoming an Obeah woman and serving the Goddess Oya; another loved football and the Dallas Cowboys until, politicized, she went to work for the revolution in Grenada and lived through the American invasion. The more memorable stories rely on the sensibility of childhood: ""Photograph"" is a reminiscence about a group of siblings and cousins raised by their grandmother while their mothers were working in England or merely gone; the return of the narrator's mother leads to painful adjustments. ""Photograph"" not only illuminates social facts of life on an island with few economic opportunities, it is also as vivid in its characterizations and emotions as in its sensory details. A thin, workmanlike collection in which a couple of fine stories stand out, giving evidence of talent and better things to come.