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A Black Englishman
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A Black Englishman by Carolyn Slaughter is an epic and intimate novel about love and loyalty, revenge and faith, race and identity - and what it takes to be human.

About the Author

Carolyn Slaughter was born in India, raised in Botswana and educated in Britain. She has trained as a psychotherapist and works with traumatised women and children. She now lives in America.

Reviews

In her sweeping ninth novel, Slaughter loosely retells the story of her maternal grandmother, who moved to India after WWI with her military husband and ended up in an insane asylum at age 30. In 1920, Isabel Herbert, the fictional protagonist, escapes the war's ghosts by marrying and accompanying her distant husband, Neville, to India and is immediately seduced by the country's "voluptuous grandeur"-and by the titular black Englishman, Sam Singh, an Oxford-educated Indian doctor ("I learned a long time ago that an Indian is black"). Their affair, as Isabel writes in a letter to Sam, "will take us to the limits of our courage," and both suffer for it-in addition to a thousand small injustices, Isabel is attacked by her cuckolded husband and nearly sent to an asylum, and Sam is unfairly arrested and brutalized in connection with a terrorist attack. Slaughter tells a beautiful, haunting love story, set against a simmering backdrop of religious violence and political turmoil. Her novel is filled with trenchant observations about class, sex, imperialism and especially race, but she sometimes drives home her points too bluntly, as when Isabel muses: "Would I desire him if his skin were ebony.... What's the exact shade of rejection, anyway, and when does otherness become revulsion?" Despite the occasional slide into didacticism, this is a moving and powerful tale. Agent, Betsy Lerner at the Gernert Company. (Nov.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

"'Richly detailed and moving' Sunday Times"

The Hindu proverb "I went in search of love and lost myself" opens Slaughter's captivating love story and succinctly states what her protagonist pursues. Fleeing the loss of her lover in the Great War, the Welsh-born Isabel finds herself in a mismatched marriage to a career soldier, Neville, and crosses the seas to Britain's Jewel of the Crown. Intrigued by the exotic allure of the East, Isabel gradually abandons traditional mores, adopts the sari, undertakes learning Hindi, and is immediately seduced by India and the elegant, Oxford-educated Dr. Samreth Singh. Despite warnings from family, friends, and servants, Isabel and Sam pursue their forbidden relationship and are thus forced to confront racism, religious tensions, ethnic violence, brutality, and colonialism in India in the 1920s. Strong-willed and empowered by their convictions about humanity and loyalty, each confronts personal and societal obstacles to honor their sense of commitment and definition of self. This gripping novel is recommended for all collections.-Sofia A. Tangalos, SUNY at Buffalo Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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