Key West is known for the artists whove lived there, and Rosalind Brackenbury is one to add to that list of writers we think of when we think of the place. A number of Brackenburys stories in Between Man and Woman Keys take place in Key West, and, like the author, the narrator in many of them is a transplanted Brit who found her way to this steamy, tropical Key below the coast of Florida. Some of the stories are set in Europe, but they too appear to be narrated by the same woman who now lives in the tropics.
In The Forty-Ninth Lot Joke, Imogen, the narrator tells her daughter about attempting to revolutionize her life when she was a young mother and wife. After inviting friends and family to live communally with them in a rented home in Frances Lot Valley, Imogen cant shake the fact that her lifes not the one shed expected, and breaks free to find herselfand any adventures she can uncover. Between Man and Woman Keys brings us close to Cuba in the company of two desperate young men whove taken matters into their own hands. This title story has love and sex and yearning, and loss that can come with a shift in the wind. Chloes Pool finds respite at a neighbors luxurious pool, one to retreat to and one that reflects the political, social, and geographical climate of Key West in the summer. Nothing Works in Homestead is a tribute to and investigation of the characters who travel to the Keys to cash in after a hurricanes hit. Cuba Run takes us on an intimate and humanitarian sea voyage to Cuba to deliver supplies. The crew of two young women and three men arrive in Cuba and all have adventures and some have awakenings. Its a view into Cuba, its social injustices, and the way politics can twist our bestand our so-sointentions. The Knowledge looks at two boysone in a wheelchairwho are mostly alone and making their sketchy way in the world, sidestepping disaster and good fortune alike. And Instead of the Revolution brings us back to France, Imogen, and her daughter, and a return to the idea of finding out who we are, even if just for a time.
The stories in Between Man and Woman Keys take us on adventures in France, London, Cuba, and Key West, but were not tourists on these trips abroad or at home. Were taken where locals livesee their inner worlds and outward onesand given intimate glimpses into the inner workings of the people who live there and the places they go.