The Polished Hoe: 20th Anniversary Edition
Published by: Dundurn Press
Imprint: Dundurn Press
Sales Date: 2022-09-27
Published: September 2022
Imprint: Dundurn Press
Page Count: 512 Pages
Dimensions: 5.50 x 8.50
512 Pages, 5.50 x 8.50 x 1.10 in
In StockAdd to Wishlist
When an elderly woman calls the police to confess to a murder, the result is a shattering all-night vigil bringing together elements of the African diaspora in one epic sweep. Set on the post-colonial West Indian island of Bimshire in 1952, the novel unravels over the course of twenty-four hours but spans the lifetime of one woman and the collective experience of a society informed by slavery.
As the novel opens, Mary Mathilda is giving confession to Sargeant, a police officer she has known all her life. The man she claims to have murdered is Mr. Bellfeels, the village plantation owner for whom she has worked for more than thirty years. Mary has also been Mr. Bellfeels’ mistress for most of that time and is the mother of his only son, Wilberforce, a successful doctor.
What transpires through Mary’s recollections is a deep meditation about the power of memory and the indomitable strength of the human spirit. Infused with Joycean overtones, this is a literary masterpiece that evokes the sensuality of the tropics and the tragic richness of Island culture.
First published in 2002, The Polished Hoe won the Giller Prize, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and the Trillium Book Award.
…brilliantly written dialogue, a rich, dancing patois that fills out the dimensions of the island's painful history and its complex caste system. Publishers Weekly
An utterly extraordinary and thoroughly compelling tragedy of Shakespearean scope…stunning and heart-rending…it ought to be both widely read and deeply remembered. Globe and Mail
An unqualified masterpiece. Toronto Star
…The Polished Hoe is a remarkable achievement. Its story is obviously deeply felt… The London Free Press
It's an undeniably ambitious work...the story unfolds over one evening--which actually spans a lifetime... It was long past the time when Austin Clarke should have been acknowledged as one of Canada's most important and most accomplished writers. Kitchener-Waterloo Record
…a wonderful book to meander through… Quill & Quire
an incredible panorama of the post-colonial experience…an impressive work by a highly accomplished Canadian author deserved of recognition indeed. Toronto's Women's Newspaper
…extremely ambitious…compulsively readable and challenging at the same time…This is an unforgettable novel. Edmonton Journal
There's a mesmerizing stillness to Austin Clarke's latest novel The New York Times
The Polished Hoe is a magnificent, breath-taking plunge into the secret depths of human relations…Clarke is a master at capturing the flavour and nuance of language and weaving its local intricacies into universal stories. Wayne Grady, Ottawa Citizen
Austin Clarke's latest novel, The Polished Hoe, is that rare creation that soars above the earth to become more than the sum of its parts. Books in Canada
Respect to Tindal Street Press for bringing to the UK this soaring and sorrowful novel of Caribbean life . . . The novel's language proves as lush, seductive - and dangerous - as its landscapeIndependent
An extraordinary tale of lust and oppression . . . a beautiful light-skinned "black" woman [is] forced by the ambition of her mother and the sexual appetite of her colonial master to live a dangerous double life as beneficiary and plaything of a society steeped in racial crueltyThe Times
A richly crafted novel which eludes, defies categories; it is variously wistful and agonising, ironic and sensual; a tragic tale, relentlessly wrought2003 Commonwealth Writers' Prize Jury Citation
- Trillium Book Award
- Scotiabank Giller Prize
- Commonwealth Writers' Prize - Best Book, Canada & the Caribbean