Haynes, a young middle-class lodger at No. 2 Minty Alley, becomes both confidant and judge as he examines the other inhabitants at this address. From his experiences he realizes the mutually impoverishing alienation of the educated West Indian from the mainstream. Through Haynes’s vivid narration James presents the rich cultural life on Minty Alley. Haynes, an outsider among people of lower class, knows his fellow lodgers only as they have revealed themselves to him through their speech and actions, yet each has a mysterious inner life. Frequently reprinted in the United Kingdom, Minty Alley at last reaches the United States so that American readers can learn what much of the rest of the English-speaking world has long known, that before such masterworks as The Black Jacobins, World Revolution, and Beyond a Boundary, C. L. R. James had already made his mark as one of the foremost of West Indian novelists.
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