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Crossing the River Paperback – 7 Sep 2006


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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (7 Sept. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 009949826X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099498261
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 12.7 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 255,660 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"A compassionate, forceful and profoundly moving revelation" (Scotland on Sunday)

"[T]here are gems of impassioned writing quilted within this ambitious cross-cultural novel of loss and reconciliation" (Sunday Times)

"Epic and frequently astonishing" (The Times)

"Crossing the River is dense with event and ingeniously structured. It requires concentration and is worth it" (Independent)

"An ambitious exploration of oppression, loss and reconciliation that employs a collage of styles and ranges across continents and centuries" (Nicci Gerrard Observer)

Book Description

Shortlisted for the Booker Prize and winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Award, this is a moving novel about the African diaspora by one of the finest writers of his generation.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 Dec. 2000
Format: Paperback
A father is forced to sell his three children, Nash, Martha, and Travis, into slavery after his crops fail. A chapter is devoted to the life story of each of the children and the trials and tribulations each went through are movingly described. The log of a slave ship captain is included as well, providing the reader with valuable insight. Within each chapter a unique voice is found, its tale told, its life unfolded. These are not only the beautifully told, touching stories of individuals, it's also a tale of 'father Africa' reaching out to all his children everywhere, knowing they will encounter numerous hardships but having faith that they can overcome all. It is impossible not to be touched by the stories and moved by the powerful messages they effectively deliver.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "gavinrob2001" on 17 Jan. 2005
Format: Paperback
Caryl Phillips Commonwealth Writers' Prize-winning 'Crossing the river' is a beautifully written, thought-provoking and, at times, extremely moving work that dealing with experiences of the African diaspora over two and a half centuries. Although I have significant reservations about the content and structure of this work, I have no hesitation in strongly recommending this novel, particularly for the final and longest part titled 'Somewhere in England' which had me visibly (and
self-consciously) gutted in full view of hundreds in a busy, open-plan coffee shop!!
The novel consists of four chapters sandwiched within brief introductory and concluding passages. In the introductory section, a father sells his three children - Nash, Martha and Travis - into slavery. These children become the "broken off limbs of a tree" seeking to sink "hopeful roots into difficult soil in distant lands", the protagonists of three of the chapters, scattered in both place and time. The four chapters that follow are essentially three discrete short stories and a concluding novella: the only interlinking between these disparate stories is that the protagonists share names with the three children mentioned in the novel's opening which make it questionable whether this work has sufficient structural cohesion to be termed a novel.
The first chapter relates the story of Nash Williams, a former slave returning to 'the pagan coast' of Africa, to 'civilise' and convert to Christianity natives away from Monrovia in Sierra Leone. Nash's story is told primarily through letters written in the 1830s and early 1840s to his American (white) father.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Difficult to follow in places but worth persevering to understand some of the reality of slavery, racism and its consequences.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Depressing, although I didn't read beyond halfway so maybe later becomes much better, but I doubt it.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Felipe Fons on 16 Jan. 2010
Format: Hardcover
He (C.Phillips or the personage) uses the colonizing englishness and makes it his. The ex-african adopts the attitude of becoming and not resisting. Since there was no place, no culture and no african language to grow with, he defies the stigmas of his time, or the time of the slavery.

Great job!
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