A young Afro-Guyanese engineer comes to a coastal Kentish
village as part of a project to shore up its crumbling sea-defences. He boards with an old English woman, Mrs Rutherford, and through his relationship with her discovers that beneath the apparent placidity and essential Englishness of this village, violence and raw emotions are not far below the surface, along with echoes of the imperial past. 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 richly intertextual novel makes reference to the work of Conrad, Wilson Harris and VS Naipaul 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.
‘Richly layered with symbol and metaphor Disappearance Time Out.
‘An electrifying array of surmises about how the imperial past has affected everyone in Britain today.’Scotsman.
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David Dabydeen was born in Guyana. He has published six acclaimed novels and three collections of poetry. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Professor of Literary Studies at the University of Warwick.