Oil Paintings, Photos and Books by Giftus R. John

Ma William and Her Circle of Friends

Ma William and Her Circle of Friends is the story of a Caribbean village and its people as portrayed by a shopkeeper, Ma William, and her “trusted” friends. Through the eyes and the mouths of these people, we understand the conditions of life – in its varying aspects – that the villagers deal with on a daily basis. We see the political, social, religious, educational and economic challenges these people face and how they try to survive – the ways in which they deal with the ups and downs of everyday life in a village where things are quickly changing. Ma William and Her Circle of Friends is also the story of a woman around whom a lot of situations revolve. She has to try to remain level-headed while dealing with her own emotions and crises: her wavering political decisions; the death of her mother; the distrust of her fellow villagers; and the uncertainty that surrounds her family as her daughter heads off to college in a foreign – and communist – country.   Ma William and Her Circle of Friends is a snapshot of life in Dominica and the Caribbean at large as its people adapt to the constant and rapid changes that engulf them.


Written with great sensitivity and attention to local speech rhythms, Giftus John’s most recent work recreates a life which is slowly witnessing its demise. This book confirms John’s reputation as one of Dominica’s finest writers.
Justice Dr. Irving W. André

In this collection of short stories, Giftus presents an exposé of Caribbean culture that resonates with every Caribbean person or person of Caribbean ancestry. This is a must-read for people of the Caribbean and those who love the Caribbean or want an education in Caribbean culture.
Vaughn E. James Ph.D

This is the work of someone who has embedded in his memory even the very minor details of the life of a village which appears to have changed but really stills holds on to a lot of its history and culture. Ma William and Her Circle of Friends are still very much alive in St. Joseph and in Dominica, today.
Johanna Bertrand.