The short story “The Other Daughter” by Joanne C. Hillhouse was published in 2017. The story is meant to be read as contemporary to the time when it was written. This is indicated, for example, by references to fictional characters such as the Queen of Dragons (l. 104), who appeared in Game of Thrones, a TV show that premiered in 2011.
Note, however, that the events in the story take place across different timelines. The narrator includes details and memories from her childhood – “When other children teased and called me Bubby Island” (l. 3) – and describes events that happened seven years before the present, when she was 10 years old: “Just seven years ago, she decided that my life would be different (…) I was 10 and now at big school” (ll. 16-22).
The narrator also describes how, at 17, she said goodbye to her mother, as she was leaving for college in the US: “Just seven years ago, she decided that my life would be different, and here we were saying our goodbyes in the airport” (ll. 16-17)
The last part of the story describes a time after the narrator arrived in Vermont: “The first story I read out in a group up on the mountain in Vermont (…) was about my mother” (ll. 98-99). The implication is that the narrator describes these events from a later point in her life, while she is still in college.
The events in the short story take place in St. John’s, the capital of Antigua and Barbuda. References to real locations such as Popeshead Street (l. 1), a street in the unofficial red-light district of St. John’s, help create the realistic setting of the story.
The narrator grew up in a neighbourhood “at the bottom of the city” (l. 37), inhabited mostly by “immigrant women and their offspring” (l. 6). The narrator notes that "their conversation was like the different parts of a multilingual choir: a bit of Spanglish, some Jamaican, and a sprinkling of Guyanese (…) I was surrounded by this, the inevitable fights and the competing beats of soca, reggae, raggaeton and rap" (ll. 9-12). This conveys the atmosphere of a poor, lively, and sometimes violent neighbourhood, where different languages and cultures mix and clash with ea...