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November 16, 2020 at 5:02 pm #22124Jennifer LeidyGuest
The Atlantic Sound
by Caryl Phillips
- Format: hardcover, 288 pages
- Genres: history, travel, literature, memoir, africa, essays
- Language: english
- Author: Caryl Phillips
- Publisher: Alfred A Knopf
- ISBN: 9780375401107 (0375401105)
- Release date: October 10, 2000
About The Book
Liverpool, England; Accra, Ghana; Charleston, South Carolina. These were the points of the triangle forming the major route of the transatlantic slave trade. And these are the cities that acclaimed author Caryl Phillips explores — physically, historically, psychologically — in this wide-ranging meditation on the legacy of slavery and the impact of the African diaspora on the life of a place and its people.
In a brilliantly layered narrative, Phillips combines his own observations with the stories of figures from the past. The experiences of an African trader in nineteenth-century Liverpool are contrasted with Phillips’s experience of the city, where, as a Carib-bean black, he is scorned by the city’s “native” blacks. His interactions with American Pan-Africanists coming “home” to Ghana (and with those Ghanaians for whom leaving seems the best hope) are paired with the account of a British-trained African minister in eighteenth-century Accra who turned a blind eye to the slave trade flourishing around him. The story of a white judge who disrupted “the natural order” in Charleston by integrating the Democratic primary in 1947 is set against Phillips’s search for remnants of the “pest houses” where slaves were “seasoned” be-fore being sold.
Phillips weaves these narrative threads together with acute insight and a novelist’s grasp of time, place and character. The result is a provocative and unexpected book, at once historically illuminating and profoundly affecting.
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