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Moses Ascending (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 27 Mar 2008

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (27 Mar. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141189312
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141189314
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 108,616 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Sam Selvon was born in San Fernando, Trinidad in 1923. In 1950 Selvon left Trinidad for the UK where after hard times of survival he established himself as a writer with A Brighter Sun (1952), An Island is a World (1955), The Lonely Londoners (1956), Ways of Sunlight (1957), Turn Again Tiger (1958), I Hear Thunder (1963), The Housing Lark (1965), The Plains of Caroni (1970), Those Who Eat the Cascadura (1972), Moses Ascending (1975) and Moses Migrating (1983).

Hari Kunzru was born in 1969. He published his first novel, The Impressionist in 2002. His second novel, Transmission appeared in 2004 and in 2005 he published Noise, a short story collection. In 2003, Hari Kunzru was named by Granta magazine as one of twenty 'Best of Young British Novelists'. He lives in London.

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A good read. Maybe too self-consciously attempting to show Moses' decline (and it is a decline) through language use and new ideology, but an interesting read. One very interesting point was the prejudice that grows in Moses against various races and classes, clearly a conscious move from Selvon. Indeed, considering the documentation of this in the 60s and 70s as the Caribbean community became more settled, it is good to see that he is not afraid to portray an unflinching account of these growing social issues.
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Format: Paperback
I have read Selvon's earlier work called The Lonely Londoners which was written 20 years earlier which introduced the main protagonist in this novel, the delightful Moses, a black immigrant from Trinidad. Moses has moved on and upwards in the 20 year gap and has become the owner of a property in Shepherds Bush. Moses occupies the top floor and rents the other rooms to a random assortment of other immigrants. Selvon writes with much humour and yet delivers alot of the undercurrent feelings as Black people were starting to become a political force. However, there are some serious flaws in the narrative. The account of the Asian tenant who is running an illegal immigrant smuggling racket is far fetched and Moses seems to be mindless of whether he is dealing with Muslims or Hindus. This book is very much a work of its time and there will be readers who find some of the novel potentially offensive: one character is called Paki, Moses asking for pork from a halal butcher and Selvon's treatment of Brenda, the only female character in the novel, is misogynistic. Notwithstanding these defects I enjoyed this engagingly funny and historically interesting account of Moses who tries to live apart from the day to day ramifications of life in London and live simply whilst writing his memoirs.
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