A new book entitled ‘Poems and short stories – of Seychelles and beyond’ has been published by author Marion Gendron. A very talented writer of both prose and poetry, she has always had a passion for English Literature, graduating in the UK with a BSC honours in English and A PGCE in TEFL (Teaching English as a foreign language), followed later by an MBA. She started writing in her teenage years although much of these early compositions have been lost.
This compilation of poems and short stories, compiled over a period of many years, touches diverse themes that reflect in their ensemble her own experiences, moods, reflections and sentiments. Gender issues, religion and spirituality, death and war, poverty and social problems, the beauty of nature in light of socio-economic pressures on the environment and the challenges of public service, constitute much of the content and reflects her keen interests in these matters.
Marion worked as a teacher for six years in Seychelles and in Bhutan as a UNV. Over a period of some 16 years, she held various posts in the government of Seychelles in the field of employment, human resource development, gender policy and planning and establishments – her last post being director general in the Ministry of Economic Development. She travelled widely for training, work, religion and holiday, visiting countries such as Nepal, India, Bhutan, China, Europe, Hong-Kong, USA, Canada, South Africa, Malta, West and East Africa, Malaysia, Israel and the Indian Ocean islands. From 2000 onwards, she dedicated herself to spiritual matters as an Auxiliary Board Member appointed by the Baha’i Continental Board of Counsellors for Africa. During that time, she also wrote a book documenting the early history of the Baha’i Faith in Seychelles.
The Senior Editor of Minerva Press wrote a review in 2000 about the publication:
‘Poems and Short stories of Seychelles and beyond’ is an accomplished collection of powerful poetry and engaging short stories. Both the poetry and prose are richly steeped in the tropical lushness of South East Asia and the Seychelles. The poetry of this collection is immediately impressive and deals with a variety of themes and issues…. The poetry uses rich language to conjure up vivid images of nature’s power and mystery, and in poems such as ‘The Call’ , this power and mystery is connected with and implicit within mankind and the unavoidable call of our ultimate end. The author offers a personal viewpoint on the subject of this ultimate calling in ‘Visit to the cemetery’, where intense emotions of grief and praise are deftly presented. Although it is always very difficult to choose highlights from such a collection, I was particularly struck by the global treatment of issues in ‘The three Onenesses’, where the author calls for the world to overcome its inherent discrepancies and divisions and become unified as a more fundamental whole:
“The earth’s one country.
Mankind its citizens.
Why hack at heads of rearing intolerance
With knives of partition
And build up walls
That must come down?”
The short stories presented here, offer the reader an insight into both the personal experiences of the author and her intimate reactions to the world around her. Also presented here are stories based on actual events, such as ‘Going home’ where a young man’s recovery from a brutal attack is creatively portrayed. The lyric quality of the author’s poetry is in evidence in this collection of stories where the reader’s emotions are brought to the fore by engaging fluid prose that holds our attention as the intriguing stories gradually unfold.
In the draft publication, the publishers, wrote:
“Do you wish to be inspired into an actual presence in the Seychelles? ‘The Seychelles and beyond’ is an experience of the captivating endearment of these magical islands set in a tropical paradise.
“This is much more than a travel experience – it is a portrayal of a colourful and diverse culture which inspires an inescapable lust for its obsessive and unique wildlife environment and warm, friendly people – a uniqueness which demands an infinite encore.”
Adrian Skerrett, a nature lover, comments about the book:
“’Poems and short stories’ is a sheer delight. Inspired by the beauty of Seychelles, it is a stimulating collection of verses and tales based on everyday experience. It is at once a deeply personal narrative and a meditation on the feelings and values we all experience. Marion’s compassion and thought provoking perception shine through again and again in rich and wonderful language. This is a book to dip in and out of: a book which inspires, which awakens and stimulates the senses.”
Marion herself explains why she writes:
“Creativity is like a breeze that blows over you in moments of solitude, of reverie – inspirational moments in the womb of time. When you capture the moment, a compelling urge to create a melody, to weave a fabric through the medium of words washes over you rather like a wave that emanates from the ocean of your existence. The desire to share it with the universe, to touch the mind and heart of the reader, just like yours was, overcomes you and you flow with the tide.”
Asked about which authors and poets influenced her, she responded:
“Although my studies helped me understand the techniques of verse and prose, the uses of rhyme and rhythm, the style I use is uniquely personal…”