Sleep It Off Lady
, originally published in late 1976 by André Deutsch
of Great Britain
, was famed Dominican
author Jean Rhys
' final collection of short stories
. The sixteen stories in this collection stretch over an approximate 75-year period, starting from the end of the nineteenth century (November 1899) to the present time of writing (circa
Stories in the collection
(a synopsis follows each title)
- "Pioneers, Oh, Pioneers": At the turn of the twentieth century, a doctor experiences the final hours of an ill-fated estate house bought only days before by his rival.
- "Goodbye Marcus, Goodbye Rose": A captain and his wife pay a visit to Dominica while vacationing in Jamaica for the winter.
- "The Bishop's Feast": A home-born returnee is invited by an old nun to witness the coronation of a new bishop in Roseau, before spending a week in Dominica's leeward coast.
- "Heat": The effects of the 1902 eruption of Mont Pelee on Dominica.
- "Fishy Waters": Racial tensions between a British carpenter and local folk erupt into a scandal that eventually finds its way into Roseau's courtroom.
- "Overture and Beginners Please": In this first of four consecutive stories centring on a pre-World War I Caribbean immigrant named Elsa, the young girl becomes a stage star in the midst of an unwanted life.
- "Before the Deluge": Elsa meets a stage girl—a policeman's daughter from Manchester—whose beauty never succeeds while entertaining her audience.
- "On Not Shooting Sitting Birds": An English gentleman rejects Elsa for good after hearing of her past exploits during hunting trips in her homeland.
- "Kikimora": At a first-class hotel, Elsa discovers how perceptive the title character, a black cat, can be over a husband.
- "Night Out 1925": The experiences of two lovers, Suzy and Gilbert, in the streets of Paris.
- "The Chevalier of the Place Blanche": In the English-language version of an Edouard de Nève work, the title character shares his desire with a British lady in a 1920s Paris restaurant.
- "The Insect World": An old lady shows a young child the disturbing connections between London underground dwellers and a tropical insect parasite whose name they share in slang.
- "Rapunzel, Rapunzel": A hospital patient makes a temporary stay at a convalescent home in London, with a long-haired Australian as her neighbour.
- "Who Knows What's Up in the Attic?": A vacationer in southeast England comes face-to-face with a clothing salesman.
- "Sleep It Off Lady": In this story from which the collection takes its name, another old lady faces a rat problem while taking care of her cottage.
- "I Used to Live Here Once": In this final story, the author returns to her native land.
ISBN 0-233-96818-0 (hardcover, original 1976 edition, André Deutsch)