by Caryl Phillips
Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 8th 2005 by Vintage (first published January 1st 2003)
ISBN 1400034507 (ISBN13: 9781400034505)
The English village is a place where people come to lick their wounds. Dorothy has walked away from a bad thirty-year marriage, an affair gone sour, and a dangerous obsession. Unable to cope with the change from the civility of life as a teacher in a grammar school to the democratic brutishness of a comprehensive, she has taken early retirement. Between her visits to the doctor and the music lessons she gives to bored teenagers, she is trying to rebuild a life.
Her neighbour seems concerned to conceal his past behind a façade of impeccable manners. It’s not immediately clear why Solomon is living in the village, but his African origin suggests a complex history that is at odds with his dull routine of washing the car and making short trips to the local supermarket. Though all he has in common with the English is a shared language, it soon becomes clear that Solomon hopes that his new country will provide him with a safe haven in which he might enjoy the decent behaviour and graciousness that he believes the English habitually practice. Gradually Solomon and Dorothy establish a form of comfort in each other’s presence that alleviates the isolation they both feel. (Source: Goodreads)
About the author
Caryl Phillips is a Kittitian-British novelist, playwright and essayist. Best known for his novels (for which he has won multiple awards), Phillips is often described as a Black Atlantic writer, since much of his fictional output is defined by its interest in, and searching exploration of, the experiences of peoples of the African diaspora in England, the Caribbean, and the United States.
As well as writing, Phillips has worked as an academic at numerous institutions including Amherst College, Barnard College, and Yale University, where he has held the position of professor of English since 2005. (Source: Wikipedia)