All The Blood Is Red
In 1996, a small independent press called Angela Royal Publishing, released Leone Ross's first novel. A piece of psychological drama, unashamedly yet subtly politicized, Blood was set in 90s London and Jamaica, and followed the lives of four very different black women:
I knew I was young then, but I didn't know how young..."
All The Blood Is Red tells the story of four very different black women in 90s London. There is Jeanette, the original good-time girl, whose enthusiastic promiscuity defines her freedom; Nicola, a beautiful actress who creates an alter-ego to face the world and her own insecurities; Alexandrea, a borderline alcoholic who finds herself sexually harassed by a man she trusts and the mysterious Mavis, whose disembodied tale of prostitution in Jamaica weaves a poignant voice throughout the novel. These four women are brought together when one of them is savagely raped by a black man, and they discover that those who wear the cloak of friendship - family, community, lovers, peers -often cause the greatest pain, the pain of rejection and violation. This is the story of three women who learn how to love and be loved, how to be strong, how to be free...and of one woman who cannot.
Things You Didn't Know... about
All The Blood Is Red
Leone was 25 years old when she wrote it.
She conceived the characters in her friend Jenne's living room, identifying 4 clear archetypal women she wanted to explore: a woman dating a white partner; a 'promiscuous' woman; a conservative; a Jamaican sex worker.
Leone only tried 60% as hard as she could to write this novel. Nervous about her debut, she figured that if didn't try as hard as she could and everybody hated it...she wouldn't have to conclude she was a bad writer.
Everything in the novel is made up, except one scene, which is written exactly as it happened.
Despite being written in first person Jamaican patois, it is the sections belonging to Mavis that most resonate with audiences, whether read in London or Romania.
Praise for All The Blood Is Red
"...pacy, absorbing, full of dramatic twists..."
- Clare Longrigg, Guardian
"With wit and perception, Ross delves into the psyche of each of her characters...a
sensitive and skillful treatment of some controversial and deeply emotive
- Pride magazine