Top critical review
A masterpiece of a novel, ruined by the final section.
on 18 January 2016
Whether, ultimately, you will like this novel probably depends how able/.willing you are to negotiate 120 pages of pidgin English. I really enjoyed it up to that point, but I found that the only way I could decode most of the pidgin was by reading it out loud, which after a page or two became exceedingly tedious. This section comes near the end of the book - a wonderfully humane account (not to say an easy read) of one slave ship's ill-fated journey. The prose is exquisite, compelling, magnificent. I had great expectations of the novel - it is clear from page one that the reader is in the hands of a master craftsman, but I am afraid I found myself turning page after page towards the end - I simply couldn't cope with the language problem. Pidgin English in quasi-phonetic transliteration is a cumbersome affair. Poetry in this medium can be a true delight if read aloud, but 120 pages of prosody - not for me, I'm afraid.