From Harvey River: A Memoir of My Mother and Her Island is an autobiographical/biographical narrative that not only resituates the body of Lorna Goodison's published work in relation to the mother as archetype of female becoming, it also reaffirms the historical trajectory of Jamaican national becoming by insisting on the creative power of Jamaica's racial and cultural heterogeneity. On the one hand, the memoir honors domesticity as the necessary and valuable work of nurturing family and community while maintaining discreet lines of demarcation between the persona of the professional writer Lorna Goodison in the twenty-first century, and that of Doris Goodison archetypal mother of the twentieth. On the other, it honors a cultural landscape of national becoming fashioned by a motley assortment of colonials and rebels, masters and slaves, Europeans and Africans and Creoles, who stitched together the complex cultural legacy of “making life” in a transformational and generative struggle for social betterment that is at once personal, familial and collective.

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