Dorothy and Solomon live in a new housing estate on the outskirts of an English village. She's recently bought her bungalow; he's recently become the night watchman. He is black, an immigrant. She is white, a recently retired music teacher. They are both solitary, reticent outsiders. When they move tenuously toward each other and their paths briefly cross, neither of them can know that it will be the last true human contact either will have.
A Distant Shore unfolds into the past to show us how Solomon and Dorothy have arrived at this moment: Solomon, a former soldier, escaping the horrors of a war-ravaged African country, entering England illegally, a non-man with no resources but his own waning strength, and no comprehension of the society that both hates and harbors him; Dorothy, the product of a troubled childhood and a messy divorce, fleeing the repercussions of a desperate obsession.
In scene after resonant scene, we watch as Solomon and Dorothy come to live inside themselves, closing off from a world that has changed--and changed them--beyond recognition. In their powerfully compelling stories, Caryl Phillips has created a brilliant and moving portrait of modern human displacement: from home, from heart, and from self.
"With elegance and maturity...Phillips crafts an unsettling tale that dramatizes the tremendous cost of difference and the bittersweet pleasures of human connection in a strange and terrible world.” (The Boston Globe)
“Graceful and dizzying....A novel of failed grasps at redemption and horrors that reduce characters to madness, murder, and incoherent grief.” (The Christian Science Monitor)
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A (Non-Linear)Tale of Two Lives in Today's England
Don't worry, all the parts of 'A Distant Shore' are just where they should be! Early on, the non-linear narrative of this engrossing novel threw me for a loop - i actually double checked that my ipod wasn't on "shuffle." Reassured there was no technical glitch on Audible's end, I kept listening and it wasn't long before I was swept away by the unique, satisfying rhythm of the author's prose. Middle aged Dorothy and African immigrant Solomon share an England that neither of them recognizes any longer. The England of years gone by has disappeared but its ghost lingers on in ways both sentimental and disturbing. As their lives brush lightly against each other, we become privy to their secrets, dreams and fears. Narrator Jane Carr disappears into the characters giving each a believable, beautiful voice. Moving forward, backward, and sideways, Phillips weaves intriguing plot points and two disparate protagonists into a compelling story that was difficult to put down!