#DecolonizeBookshelves2022 Adult Books Lifespan of a Reader Literary Fiction Reading Themes

[#DecolonizeBookshelves2022] Of Obeahs and Discerners of Hearts

... the world was united only to further the purpose of white commerce. On other matters which hinged on the colour of a man's skin, the world would stay further divided. - Discerner Of Hearts And Other Stories by Olive Senior.

Myra here.

Discerner Of Hearts And Other Stories [Amazon | Book Depository]

Written by Olive Senior Published by McClelland & Stewart, Ltd. (1995) ISBN: 9780771080548 (ISBN10: 0771080549) Bought a copy of the book. Book quotes and layout via Canva.

This is the twelfth book that I am reviewing / featuring as part of our #DecolonizeBookshelves2022 reading theme from my target list of 25 books (for this year) from This Is The Canon: Decolonize Your Bookshelf In 50 Books (Amazon | Book Depository) – and the tenth novel written by a female author.

My book log indicates that I started reading the book on August 18 and finished it on August 26.

Reading the stories felt familiar to me: issues of class struggle, the power imbalance among helpers and “masters” (the matter of who truly holds the reins in any household), the so-called superstition deeply rooted in a belief of something bigger than one’s self and righteousness and comeuppance – all resonated with me. I was born and raised in a country where helpers are kin – distant cousins of sorts – yet the divide remains. And who could not love the title: Discerner of Hearts – I previously thought I was pretty good at this, but recent events have made me question the accuracy of my supposed discernment.

These are some of the quotes that stood out for me:

This concept of beauty as defined by colonizers is something that is also shared by my home country, the Philippines: the elevation of the mestiza over those who are darker-skinned; and this notion persists up to this very day.

This book has a distinct lyrical voice to it. I can taste the pain and grief of the characters and their distant longings through the language unfettered and let loose. I definitely want to read more of Olive Senior.


#DecolonizeBookshelves2022 Update: 93 out of target 100

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

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