The Final Passage (Paperback)
Vintage, 9780679759317, 208pp.
Publication Date: March 12, 1999
From the British-West Indian novelist who is rapidly emerging as the bard of the African diaspora comes a haunting work about "the final passage"--the exodus of black West Indians from their impoverished islands to the uncertain opportunities of England. In her village of St. Patrick's, Leila Preston has no prospects, a young son, and a husband, Michael, who seems to prefer the company of his mistress. So when her ailing mother travels to England for medical care, Leila decides to follow her. As Caryl Phillips follows the Prestons' outward voyage--and their bewildered attempt to find a home in a country whose rooming houses post signs announcing "No vacancies for coloureds"--he produces a tragicomic portrait of hope and dislocation. The Final Passage is a novel rich in language, acute in its grasp of character, and unforgettable in its vision of the colonial legacy. "Like Isabel Allende and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Phillips writes of times so heady and chaotic and of characters so compelling that time moves as if guided by the moon and dreams."--Los Angeles Times Book Review
About the Author
Caryl Phillips was born in St. Kitts, West Indies, and brought up in England. He is the author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction. His novel Dancing in the Dark won the 2006 PEN/Beyond Margins Award, and an earlier novel, A Distant Shore, won the 2004 Commonwealth Writers' Prize. His other awards include the Martin Luther King Memorial Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and currently lives in New York.