The polished hoe : a novel /
Austin Clarke.
imprint
Toronto : Thomas Allen Publishers, c2002.
description
462 p. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0887621104
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Toronto : Thomas Allen Publishers, c2002.
isbn
0887621104
catalogue key
4711357
A Look Inside
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Commonwealth Writers Prize, GBR, 2003 : Won
Giller Prize, CAN, 2002 : Won
Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, USA, 2004 : Nominated
Trillium Book Award, CAN, 2003 : Won
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2003-05-15:
Barbados-born Clarke's ninth novel, which earned him the 2002 Giller Prize (Canada's premier fiction prize) and the 2003 Commonwealth Writers Prize, is a tragic, complex story of postcolonial Barbadian life following World War II. Oppression still flourishes on Bimshire, an island controlled by "the Plantation," where women like Miss Bellfeels are basically chattel. Miss Bellfeels, known to the villagers as Mary-Mathilda, eventually escapes the toil of field labor and housework. But as the kept woman of Mr. Bellfeels, the powerful plantation manager, she is not accepted into the island's upper echelon. Her status isolates her from common folk like Sgt. Percy Stuart, her childhood friend. The 24-hour saga begins after Mary has murdered Mr. Bellfeels and Percy must record her all-night confession, an obligation complicated by his lifelong love for Mary. Through Mary's memories and thoughts, Clarke deftly reveals an abominable state of sexual oppression and racist tyranny and the revenge both can invoke. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/03.]-Faye A. Chadwell, Univ. of Oregon Libs., Eugene (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"A magnificent, breathtaking plunge into the secret depths of human relations...a wonder-filled gem."
"an incredible panorama of the post-colonial experience...an impressive work by a highly accomplished Canadian author deserved of recognition indeed."
"An unqualified masterpiece."
"An utterly extraordinary and thoroughly compelling tragedy of Shakespearean scope...stunning and heart-rending...it ought to be both widely read and deeply remembered."
" ... a wonderful book to meander through..."
"...extremely ambitious...compulsively readable and challenging at the same time... This is an unforgettable novel."
"It's an undeniably ambitious work...the story unfolds over one evening--which actually spans a lifetime... It was long past the time when Austin Clarke should have been acknowledged as one of Canada's most important and most accomplished writers."
" The Polished Hoe is a magnificent, breath-taking plunge into the secret depths of human relations... Clarke is a master at capturing the flavour and nuance of language and weaving its local intricacies into universal stories.:
"... The Polished Hoe is a remarkable achievement. Its story is obviously deeply felt..."
This item was reviewed in:
Quill & Quire, November 2002
New York Times Book Review, September 2003
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
When an elderly Bimshire village woman calls the police to confess to a murder, the result is a shattering all-night vigil that brings together elements of the African diaspora in one epic sweep. Set on the post-colonial West Indian island of Bimshire in 1952, "The Polished Hoe" unravels over the course of 24 hours but spans the lifetime of one woman and the collective experience of a society informed by slavery.As the novel opens, Mary Mathilda is giving confession to Sargeant, a police officer she has known all her life. The man she claims to have murdered is Mr. Belfeels, the village plantation owner for whom she has worked for more than thirty years. Mary has also been Mr. Belfeels' mistress for most of that time and is the mother of his only son, Wilbeforce, a successful doctor.What transpires through Mary's words and recollections is a deep meditation about the power of memory and the indomitable strength of the human spirit. Infused with Joycean overtones, this is a literary masterpiece that evokes the sensuality of the tropics and the tragic richness of Island culture.
Main Description
When an elderly Bimshire village woman calls the police to confess to a murder, the result is a shattering all-night vigil that brings together elements of the African diaspora in one epic sweep. Set on the post-colonial West Indian island of Bimshire in 1952, The Polished Hoe unravels over the course of 24 hours but spans the lifetime of one woman and the collective experience of a society informed by slavery. As the novel opens, Mary Mathilda is giving confession to Sargeant, a police officer she has known all her life. The man she claims to have murdered is Mr. Belfeels, the village plantation owner for whom she has worked for more than thirty years. Mary has also been Mr. Belfeels' mistress for most of that time and is the mother of his only son, Wilbeforce, a successful doctor. What transpires through Mary's words and recollections is a deep meditation about the power of memory and the indomitable strength of the human spirit. Infused with Joycean overtones, this is a literary masterpiece that evokes the sensuality of the tropics and the tragic richness of Island culture.
Main Description
When Mary-Mathilda, one of the most respected women of the island of Bimshire (also known as Barbados) calls the police to confess to a crime, the result is a shattering all-night vigil that brings together elements of the island's African past and the tragic legacy of colonialism in one epic sweep. Set in the West Indies in the period following World War II, The Polished Hoe -- an Essence bestseller and a Washington Post Book World Most Worthy Book of 2003 -- unravels over the course of twenty-four hours but spans the collective experience of a society characterized by slavery.

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