Exploring rites of passage in London's Asian community, this semiautobiographical novel follows a young Indo-Guyanese narrator from his South American village to Great Britain. With determination and self-discipline he seizes opportunities of education and upward mobility, but struggles to keep his cultural identity alive through memories of his childhood. This sophisticated postcolonial text links language and character to reveal the social divisions, educational obstacles, and self-exploration of a struggling foreigner in the mid-20th century.
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David Dabydeen is the director of the Center for Caribbean Studies and a professor at the Center for British Comparative Cultural Studies at the University of Warwick. He is also Guyana's ambassador-at-large and a member of UNESCO's executive board. He is the author of A Harlot's Progress and Turner, and the poetry collection Slave Song, which won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize.
"Painfully beautiful and true." —Maya Angelou
"Utterly serious, painfully honest and combining, with some originality, the light and the dark, the sweet and the bitter." —Anita Desai, author, The Clear Light of Day
"We badly need novels about the immigrant experience in Britain and this is the best I've read for a long time—vivid, perceptive, funny and moving." —Penelope Lively, author, The Photograph
"Essential reading. [Dabydeen] narrates his painful story with a deft and often humorous touch, and provides us with some startling insights into poverty-stricken Guyana and multi-cultural London." —Caryl Phillips, author, A Distant Shore
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