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Light Falling on Bamboo

by Lawrence Scott

This fictionalised biography of the landscape painter, Cazabon, brings the scenery and world of post-slavery Trinidad to life, in prose as vivid and exquisite as the artist’s own pictures. It is also a study in moral ambiguity, as Cazabon's romantic, sanitised paintings of his homeland reveal uncomfortable truths about artistic complicity with colonialism. It will appeal to lovers of art, historical novels and armchair travellers alike.

Extract

The figure fitted into the composition impressionistically, creating that sense of leisurely strolling in the park; one of Burnley’s ladies. This was the kind of grace that Hardin Burnley would want conveyed. This was the sense of civilisation that Wildman talked about when he spoke of the prospects around Chilham Castle and Norton Court. But the subtle indication was the suggestion that she did not belong to the fields beyond the savannah. The viewer would ask the question as to how she came to belong to the house. He heard again his mother’s words on her deathbed: ... don’t forget the ideas of freedom which have carried us this far; the republic we seek in this corner of the world.
‘Art does not preachy a sermon.’ He heard another voice from his past, a correcting voice.

Parallels

Cambridge by Caryl Phillips
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
 

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