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Caryl Phillips's Books

Color Me English
Aug.09.2011
What do we mean by 'English'?  How does that image square with reality?  How does our island look from abroad, and what aspects of our experience do we share with, for example, America - a nation built by outsiders and the huddled masses?   Taking as its starting point a moving recollection of growing up in Leeds during the 1970s, Colour Me English broadens...
In the Falling Snow
May.02.2009
The story of a man at a turning point in his life and of a society moving from one idea of itself to another. Keith—born in the 1960s to immigrant West Indian parents, raised primarily by his white stepmother—is in his forties, a social worker heading a Race Equality unit in London whose life has come undone: separated from his wife of twenty years (her family "let her go...
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Apr.02.2008
The secret history which this play, and the book upon which it is based, tells is only one of a vast number of smaller stories which together form the terrible narrative of the slave trade.  
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Oct.24.2007
A hybrid of reportage, fiction, and historical fact that tells the stories of three black men whose tragic lives speak resoundingly to the place and role of the foreigner in English society. Francis Barber, "given" to the great l8th century writer Samuel Johnson, afforded an unusual depth of freedom, which, after Johnson's death, would help hasten his wretched demise.......
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Oct.10.2006
A re-imagining of the remarkable, tragic, little-known life of Bert Williams (1874-1922), the first black entertainer in the United States to reach the highest levels of fame and fortune. Even as an eleven-year-old child living in Southern California in the late 1800s—his family had recently emigrated from the Bahamas—Bert Williams understood that he had to "learn the role...
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Oct.15.2003
Set in contemporary England, A Distant Shore is the story of an African man and an English woman whose hidden lives, and worlds, are revealed in their fragile, fateful connection. 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...
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Jan.02.2001
Phillips begins this distinctive collection of essays by establishing his belief that there is a "new world order" of cultural plurality, one which is being promoted by the increasingly central role of the migrant and the refugee in the modern world. A New World Order ranges widely across the Atlantic World that Caryl Phillips has charted in his award-winning novels and...
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Oct.11.2000
What constitutes "home"? Seen through the historical prism of the Atlantic slave trade, Phillips undertakes a personal quest to come to terms with dislocation and discontinuities that a diasporan history engenders in the soul of an individual. Phillips initially journeys from the Caribbean to Britain by banana boat, repeating a journey he made to England as a child in the...
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Jul.28.1999
Included in this anthology, edited by Caryl Phillips, are Martin Amis in praise of Pete Sampras, Alistair Cooke on "Why I love Gabriela Sabatini," and Fred Perry describing his first Wimbledon win, when the crowds backed his Australian opponent, considering Perry too working-class. The game of tennis, genteel and volatile by turns, has attracted the attention of some of...
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May.06.1997
This anthology begins over two hundred years ago, with black writers like Ignatius Sancho and Olaudah Equiano, who had direct experience of the slave trade, grappling not only with the difficulties of belonging but also with a new language. A revelatory and compelling anthology which redefines our notion of "English Literature." To acknowledge Britain's long history of...
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Apr.30.1997
At the center of The Nature of Blood is a young woman, a Nazi death camp survivor, devastated by the loss of everyone she loves. A German Jewish girl whose life and death are shaped by the atrocities of World War II...her uncle, who undermines the sureties of his own life in order to fight for Israeli statehood...the Jews of the sixteenth century Venetian ghetto, trapped both...
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Jan.19.1994
An evocation of the scattered offspring of Africa. A voice speaking out of a distant past describes the consequences of his desperation: his daughter and two sons condemned to the hold of an English slave ship bound for America in 1753. Here are the stories of these children: Nash, Martha, and Travis. Yet as the narrative unfolds, we come to understand that although they are his...
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Jan.02.1991
Cambridge is a devoutly Christian slave in the West Indies whose sense of justice is both profound and self-destructive, while Emily is a morally-blind, genteel Englishwoman. Emily Cartwright's father never visited his West Indian estate—however, Emily was to learn that it was just such absenteeism which contributed to social anarchy. It was risky for a young nineteenth-century...
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Sep.13.1989
In Africa, a man recounts his days within the grinding machine of the slave trade. Though spared manacles and a hellish ocean crossing by assisting in the degrading business, he is forced finally to confront an inescapable, vicious paradox: in the eyes of both his masters and his own people he is a pariah—less than a man. In America, Rudi Williams serves life imprisonment in a...
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Aug.02.1987
Caryl Phillips chronicles a journey through modern-day Europe, his quest guided by a moral compass rather than a map. Seeking personal definition within the parameters of growing up black in Europe, he discovers that the natural loneliness and confusion inherent in long journeys collide with the bigotry of the "European Tribe"—a global community of whites caught up in...