The Green Grass Tango
A charming novel about a group of multi-racial elders who, with the passport of their dogs, find friendship, intrigue and even love in a London park.
Beryl Gilroy
ISBN number
Fiction, Novel
Country setting
United Kingdom
Publication date
01 Sep 2001

When Alfred Grayson, a retired and recently widowed civil servant, decides to buy a dog, Sheba gives him a passport to the diverse multi-racial community of dog-walkers and bench-sitters who meet in a down-at-heel London park. Here Grayson engages with the cunning Finbar, theatrical Arabella and her absurd tango-dancing sidekick, Harold Heyhoe, Jamaican Maryanne, tortured by her demons, Rastafarian Rootsman, old Uncle Nat from Sierra Leone, tattooed Judy and abandoned Lucy.

Grayson, originally from Barbados, has passed for white and kept his origins quiet during his civil service career, but two, in particular, of the relationships he makes in the park cause him to rethink his past.

In the park, characters, who would not otherwise meet, make unlikely alliances and feel able to expose various identities, or in Alfred’s case begin to reconstruct one. Both park and characters have their times of wintry bleakness, shabbiness and moments of glorious display. For Alfred and Lucy there is even the hope that late flowering lust might bloom into love. Like all the best, the richest and most truthful comedy, The Green Grass Tango is filled with a sense of human fragility and impermanence.

And there are the dogs: faithful companions and quizzical witnesses to their owners’ most intimate deeds!

Beryl Gilroy came to London over fifty years ago from Guyana. She wrote six novels, two autobiographical books and was a pioneering teacher and psychotherapist. Sadly, she died in 2000 at the age of 76.


Beryl Gilroy

Born in what was then British Guiana, Beryl Gilroy moved to the UK in the1950s, part of the Windrush generation. She was the author of six novels, two autobiographical books, and she was a pioneering teacher and psychotherapist, becoming London’s first black headteacher.
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