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The humorous yet poignant novel of West Indian migrant life in London that adds an iconic voice to the growing Caribbean canon
A Penguin Classic
Set in London in the 1960's, when the UK encouraged its Commonwealth citizens to emigrate as a result of the post-war labor shortage, The Housing Lark explores the Caribbean migrant experience in the "Mother Country" by following a group of friends as they attempt to buy a home together. Despite encountering a racist and predatory rental market, the friends scheme, often comically, to find a literal and figurative place of their own. Will these motley folks, male and female, Black and Indian, from Trinidad and Jamaica, dreamers, hustlers, and artists, be able to achieve this milestone of upward mobility? Unique and wonderful, comic and serious, cynical and tenderhearted, The Housing Lark poses the question of whether their "lark," or quixotic idea of finding a home, can ever become a reality. Kittitian-British novelist and playwright Caryl Phillips contributes a foreword, while postcolonial literature scholar Dohra Ahmad provides a contextual introduction.
About the Author
Sam Selvon (1923-1994) was a Caribbean novelist and short-story writer of East Indian descent, known for his vivid depictions of the life of East Indians living in the West Indies and elsewhere. Born in Trinidad, he came to public attention during the 1950s with a number of other Caribbean writers. During World War II, Selvon worked as a wireless operator for the Royal Navy on ships that patrolled the Caribbean. In 1965, he published The Housing Lark. He died in 1994 in Port of Spain.
Foreword Author Bio: Caryl Phillips is the author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, including The Lost Child (2015), Dancing in the Dark, Crossing the River, and Color Me English. His novel A Distant Shore won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize; his other awards include the Martin Luther King Memorial Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and lives in New York.
Introduction Author Bio: Dohra Ahmad is Professor of English at St. John's University. Her areas of research and teaching interest include comparative immigrant literature, World Anglophone literature, American literature, utopian fiction, postcolonial theory, and World Literature pedagogy. She is the editor of Rotten English: A Literary Anthology (2007).