The European Tribe
By Caryl Phillips
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780375707049, 144pp.)
Publication Date: May 2, 2000
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In this richly descriptive and haunting narrative, 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 jorneys collides with the bigotry of the "European Tribe"-a global community of whites caught up in an unyielding, Eurocentric history.
Phillips deftly illustrates the scenes and characters he encounters, from Casablanca and Costa del Sol to Venice, Amsterdam, Oslo, and Moscow. He ultimately discovers that "Europe is blinded by her past, and does not understand the high price of her churches, art galleries, and history as the prison from which Europeans speak."
In the afterword to the Vintage edition, Phillips revisits the Europe he knew as a young man and offers fresh observations.