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'For me life hasn't got dreams, success and all that damn nonsense. Life is full of shadows: some of them soft and others conceal a hammer.'
Galton Flood is a lonely man, restless and ill at ease with his family. He leaves his home in Guyana's capital, Georgetown, for a remote township, and the first of a string of precarious jobs. Meeting Gemma, his landlord's daughter, appears to offer a first chance of meaningful connection - maybe even happiness. But there is a darkness inside Galton, and soon jealousy and paranoia lead him to fatally, violently unravel.
With this haunting portrait of a mind undone, celebrated Guyanese writer Roy Heath evocatively recreates the country of his youth: its rivers, townships and tenement yards, and the tensions shimmering below the surface of a community.
The prose style is graceful, old-fashioned, almost Latinate. The dialogue on the other hand, is pure Guyanese vernacular, and the gap between the two, between the sense of distance in the prose and intimacy in the dialogue, makes the novel chilling and tense and deeply original.-- Colm Tóibín and Carmen Callil, ‘200 Best Novels in English since 1950’, The Modern Library