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Selvon, Samuel.

Toronto. Williams-Wallace. c1985. 140pp. paper, ISBN 0-K8795-040-X (cloth) $19.95, 0-88795-046-9 (paper) $9.95.

Reviewed by Philip K. Harber

Volume 14 Number 5
1986 September

This is not strictly a Canadian book; Selvon is an accomplished and well-known short story writer from Trinidad who is now resident in Canada after many years of self-imposed exile in England. This short novel, written in 1969 and published in 1970 in the United Kingdom, has been re-issued under a Canadian imprint.

Like many of Selvon's short stories, this description of the conflict between traditional and modern values among the members of an Indian family from a sugar estate has the ring of truth and of Creole speech. The story ends with the departure of the clever son, Romesh, for England with the promise of possible fidelity from his rich while Trinidadian girlfriend, which may be seen as a victory for the ambitious mother or a triumph for young love and racial tolerance.

However, it was written before the effects of Trinidad of the OPEC crisis, with its consequent oil boom and bust that turned society upside down, making instant millionaires and changing social values forever. Perhaps Selvon plans a sequel.

Philip K. Harber, Toronto Board of Education, Toronto, Ont.
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