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The Store of a Million Items

Michelle Cliff

32 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0395901294 / ISBN 13: 9780395901298
Published by Mariner Books, 1998
Condition: Good Soft cover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Store of a Million Items

Publisher: Mariner Books

Publication Date: 1998

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition:Good

About this title


A collection of stories by a Caribbean-American author depicts characters caught in the confrontations between Black and white, male and female, and the United States and the third world


In The Store of a Million Items, Jamaican-American writer Michelle Cliff writes about a childhood spent on two islands--Jamaica and Manhattan. Cliff examines the gaps between cultures, genders, and generations in each of these 11 succinct, lyrical tales. These stories contrast the abundance and racism of America during the 1950s and 1960s with life in Jamaica during the same period. In the title story, the narrator describes how the arrival of new products at the Store of a Million Items marked the changes of seasons for children in her New York neighborhood. Instead of spring, summer, winter, and fall, they had yo-yo season, water-gun season, and flexible-flyer season. In that story and in "Down the Shore," the author adeptly describes the secret worlds children inhabit. In "Contagious Melancholia" and "Stan's Speed Shop," Cliff examines people who are just plain different. "Stan's Speed Shop" is about an encounter between a crazy but harmless rich white man and a young black girl, who reflects that her family is packed with odd characters whose eccentricities are a product of their difficult lives: "We originated in the place where the sun never set and the blood never dried. Fragility was almost a point of honor, evidence of our delicacy against cruelty. Whatever happened, we weren't to blame, nor were we to make any change." Michelle Cliff's stories are not packed with action and plot, but they are full of fascinating, disappointed people and are told from a perspective that is both insightful and political. --Jill Marquis

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