I came to this book through a graduate student in my department who is studying and writing his doctoral dissertation on the work of Earl Lovelace.I've had so many conversations with this student about his subject of study that I became more and more drawn to figure out what this Lovelace was all about. So, I decided this summer to pick up this first novel by Lovelace and give it a go.Stylistically and linguistically, I have to say that found the book to be enchanting.It is my first exposure to Anglophone Caribbean literature, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.It starts out with a scene that is none to appealing and even somewhat discouraging, but I think this is absolutely necessary to evoke the kind of mood that Lovelace wants to envelop the whole rest of the story and to give meaning to the redemptive discovery that unfolds as the novel progress.

Even though this is a book written in 1960 and is Earl Lovelace's first novel, I thought the content and the narrative structure to be relevant even today, some 50 plus years after its original publication.The hero of the novel, Walter Castle, is at first a very unsympathetic and surly character, full of intelligence, but also full of resentment and disappointment at the world in which he has to live.The novel actually takes place over the course of a 48 hour period, but there are extended flashbacks over this period into the history of Walter Castle's life.And in this 48 hour period, even through these flashbacks, there is a kind of epiphany that converts Walter Castle from an angry, resentful man, to a man of hope and determination for the better.The positive, hopeful ending is a bit abrupt and seemingly out of character, but I still think it works because of the narrative structure that Lovelace uses to bring us to the point where we can see why Walter would have such an epiphany.It's a commentary on poverty and alienation in the underdeveloped Caribbean, but also a commentary on community and the "good fight."I came to like Walter in the end, and I didn't think I could.But the themes that resonated in 1960 in this novel still resonate today.I know for sure that I will be reading more of Lovelace's work in the future.