James’s novel has been acclaimed as “a ground-breaking example of regional social realism” and as “a major forerunner of the Caribbean literary movements in English.” Many of James’s readers believe that it is not possible fully to comprehend Caribbean literary art in English without first reading Minty Alley. In the interactions of the characters of Maisie, Haynes, Mrs. Rouse, & Benoit, James discerns new forms of society rooted in the oldest of desires and aspirations. In the everyday language of the unforgettable dialogues in the novel James reveals new modes of human relationships.

Haynes, a young middle-class lodger at No. 2 Minty Alley, becomes both confidant and judge as he examines the other … More

Rosie Hogarth is about one such little hive in the years immediately after the Second World War. Lamb Street is a respectable, inward looking working class enclave in south Islington, close to the Angel & to Chapel Market. The novel stands out for its profound sense of place. But alongside the warmth of community is the chill of exclusion.

The ‘man or woman who tries to settle in London without gaining admission to one of these communities’, Baron writes … More

Robert Jones is a crew leader in a naval shipyard in Los Angeles in the 1940s. He should have a lot going for him, being educated, with a steady job and a steady relationship. But in the four days covered in this novel, the impossibility of life as a black man in a white world is made devastatingly clear.

Jones is surrounded by prejudice, suspicion and paranoia, and his daily experiences influence his thoughts, dreams and behaviour. Immediately recognised … More