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The Polished Hoe

by Austin Clarke

Following the murder of her 'master', Sargeant is reluctant to take a statement from Mary-Mathilda, a respected elderly woman living on the sugar plantation. Instead they discuss the rich and brutal history of the island and the lives and loves of its characters. This is a big read for those with plenty of time and patience and an interest in the conversations of others. However, it probably won't appeal to readers looking for action.

Extract

Then, Mr. Bellfeels put his riding-crop under my chin, and raise my face to meet his face, using the riding-crop; and when his eyes and my eyes made four, he passed the riding-crop down my neck, right down the front of my dress, until it reach my waist. And then he move the riding-crop back up again, as if he were drawing something on my body. And Ma, stanning-up beside me, with her two eyes looking down... Ma had her attention focused on something on the ground. My mother. Not on me, her own daughter.

Parallels

Light in August by William Faulkner
Roots by Alex Haley
 

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