‘Love Silk Food’ by Leone Ross

This story is a bit of a miracle. It takes place during one afternoon, near Wood Green station in London, and is about Mrs Neecy Brown, a woman in her 60s who is married to a serial cheat. Mrs Brown meets a bloke from St Elizabeth on the tube, who is visiting his grown-up daughter. I have categories for the stories I read, and this is a classic ‘encounter’ story. But Leone Ross manages to give us Mrs Brown’s entire life: her coming to England, the births of her daughters, her middle-age, and also a moment of revelation and beauty. The technical control of the third person voice – the way it slips from the storyteller into Mrs Brown’s Patois – is amazing. I love Mrs Brown so much, and every time I read the story I cry.

First published in Wasafiri 64, December 2010, and collected in Come Let Us Sing Anyway, Peepal Tree Press, 2017)

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