Water With Berries
Water with Berries is a tragic and violent novel that explores the persisting power of colonialism and the necessity of making a decisive break from its mentalities if the Caribbean is to achieve true independence. It continues Lamming's fascination with Shakespeare's The Tempest as a template for exploring the mixture of intimacy, thwarted love and hatred at the heart of the colonial relationship.
George Lamming
ISBN number
Caribbean Modern Classics
Fiction, Novel
Country setting
Imaginary Caribbean
United Kingdom
Publication date
11 Jul 2016

Teeton, a Caribbean artist, lives multiple lives in England. One is with a bohemian group of artist exiles, like his friend Derek the actor who has sunk to playing a corpse on stage, and the musician, Roger Capildeo, a Naipaulian figure who denies the point of any kind of political involvement.There is also Teeton’s curiously intimate relationship with his English landlady, whom he calls the Dowager. Finally, as a revolutionary from the Caribbean island of San Cristobal, Teeton is enmeshed in a secret conspiracy and is planning to return to return to his island to participate in an uprising . Thus far, Teeton has kept each aspect of his life separate from one another, but when the time comes to return home, his once separate worlds begin to fuse together with disastrous results.

This novel is a powerful study of the impossibility of disentangling British and Caribbean lives, the unacknowledged power of history, the nature of misogyny, and the conflict between the calls of art and revolution. As the title indicates, Water with Berries returns to Lamming's deep engagement with Shakespeare's The Tempest as a model for the intimacy and complexity of the colonial relationship. Set in the late 1960s, the novel has a notably more pessimistic view of the pleasures of exile than his earlier book of that name.

In a narrative that is both deeply political and poetic, Water with Berries shows why George Lamming has been recognised as one of Caribbean writing’s most original figures.

This new Caribbean Modern Classics edition features a scholarly introduction by J. Dillon Brown