A young Afro-Guyanese engineer comes to a coastal Kentish village
as part of a project to shore up its sea-defences. He boards with
an old English woman, Mrs Rutherford, and through his relationship
with her discovers the latent violence and raw emotions present in
this apparently placid village. He discovers, too, that underlying
the village's essential Englishness, echoes of the imperial past
resound. In the process, he is forced to reconsider his perceptions
of himself and his native Guyana, and in particular to question his
engineer's certainties in the primacy of the empirical and the
rational. This is a richly intertextual novel which uses reference
to the novels of Conrad, Wilson Harris and V.S. Naipaul's 'The
Enigma of Arrival' to set up a multi-layered dialogue concerning
the nature of Englishness, the legacy of Empire and different
perspectives on the nature of history and reality.
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