Alice Walker has described the Barbadian American novelist Paule Marshall as "unequaled in intelligence, vision, craft, by anyone of her generation, to put her contributions to our literature modestly." Such praise has echoed through reviews and analyses of Marshall's work since the 1959 publication of Brown Girl, Brownstones, a novel followed by The Chosen Place, the Timeless People (1969), Praisesong for the Widow (1984), and Daughters (1991). Places of Silence, Journeys of Freedom is the first study of Paule Marshall's work to focus explicitly on her contribution to feminism.
It is also the first to identify one of her original contributions to narrative art-a technique of "superimposition" or "double exposure" through which her books have explored topics now at the heart of feminist debate. Centered around the subject of voice and silence, these issues include the interrelation between women's power and powerlessness, the interpenetration of the political and economic world with the world of the psyche, and the mechanisms through which oppressions on the basis of race, class, and gender operate as mutually shaping forces.