tion, she also carries a child in her womb who may be the “daughter of so many rapes or perhaps of Miguel [her lover], but above all, my own daughter” (432). Alba begins the healing by telling the story of her family; the novel ends as it begins with “Barrabás came to us by sea” (433).
Dorothy Allison was born in Greenville, South Carolina, in 1949. She holds a BA degree from Florida Presbyterian College in St. Petersburg and a master's degree in anthropology from the New School for Social Research in New York (Moore 13). Being born poor, white, and Southern has had an impact on Allison, and class issues constitute a major thread in her growing body of work. In her memoir, Two or Three Things I Know for Sure (1995), Allison writes, “I was born trash in a land where the people all believe themselves natural aristocrats” (32). Allison also addresses the issues of sexual abuse and lesbianism. Allison's stepfather began abusing her when she was only five, and her mother's silent awareness of the abuse created a complicated web of pain, anger, and betrayal in their relationship. Of her semiautobiographical novel Bastard Out of Carolina (1992), Allison says that “in order to write Bone, the character I created, and to write her mother and to write those people, I had to forgive them, and I had to forgive myself, which is the hard thing” (16).
Allison asserts that it is her responsibility and debt to write the stories of her family, of the disenfranchised voices of the Southern “white trash, ” particularly of its women. In her memoir she writes,
I am one woman but I carry in my body all the stories I have ever been told, women I have known, women who have taken damage until they tell themselves they can feel no pain at all. (38)
Though Allison wrote steadily for many years for feminist and lesbian audiences, it was not until Bastard Out of Carolina in 1992 that she won national acclaim. That book was a National Book Award finalist and won the Bay Area Book Reviewers Award for fiction. Her earlier works include The Women Who Hate Me (1983), which was republished in 1991 as The Women Who Hate Me: Poetry 1980-1990; Two or Three Things I Know for Sure (1995); and Trash (1988; revised and reissued in 2002), which won Lambda Literary Awards for Lesbian Fiction and Lesbian Small Press Book. Since her stunning success with Bastard, she has had another successful novel in Cavedweller (1998), which won the Lambda Literary Award for Fiction.