At the news of her son's involvement in gang crime, Idora Morrison collapses in her rented basement apartment. For four days and nights, she retreats into a vortex of memory, pain, and disappointment that unravels a riveting dissection of her life as a black immigrant to Toronto.
Idora has lived in Canada for 25 years. She has struggled to make ends meet and her deadbeat husband Bertram has abandoned her for a better life in America. Left alone to raise her son BJ, Idora does her best to survive against very difficult odds. Now that BJ has disappeared into a life of crime and gang warfare, she recoils from this loss and tries to understand how her life has spiraled into this tragic place. In spite of her circumstances, Idora finds her way back into the light with a courage that is both remarkable and unforgettable.
Perhaps the most political of all of Austin Clarke's novels, More is a powerful indictment of the iniquities of racial discrimination and the crime of poverty. It is in many ways a companion volume to the award-winning The Polished Hoe. While his previous novel was a metaphorical history of slavery, More is an allegorical story about the complexities of race in modern western culture.
More is an extraordinary story about oppression and redemption and hope. From one of our masters of the novel form, this is very much a book for our times.
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"An introspective examination of cultural racism and the life of minorities, this detailed (though loaded) narrative should strike a chord with Clarke's audience." - Publishers Weekly
"A beautifully written exploration of cultural conflicts and one woman's struggle to find a place for herself emotionally." - Booklist
"A forceful book...at the height of his literary power, Clarke boldly challenges, and transforms, Canadian sense and sensibility." - Globe and Mail (Toronto)
"More may stand as one of the crowning achievements of Clarke's career." - Quill & Quire
"This tough and affecting novel will shatter American misconceptions about Canadian race relations. " - Library Journal
"At times psychedelically kaleidoscopic, at others merely confusing: Experimental plot-sabotage and disregard for narrative chronology significantly undermine the momentum." - Kirkus Reviews
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Austin Clarke was a professor of literature and taught at Yale, Brandeis, Williams, Duke, and the Universities of Texas and Indiana. He assisted in setting up a Black Studies program at Yale in 1968, after which he became the cultural attaché of the Embassy of Barbados in Washington, D.C. Culminating with the international success of The Polished Hoe, which won the Giller Prize, the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, and the Trillium Prize, Austin Clarke's work since 1964 includes eleven novels, six short-story collections, and four memoirs. He lived in Toronto until his death in June 2016.
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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