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A State of Independence

3.36  ·  Rating Details  ·  50 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
When Bertram Francis returns to his native St. Kitts after a twenty-year sojourn in England, the mangy, flamboyant island that greets him is astonishingly unchanged. Yet time and the bitternes of his island-bound family and friends have made him a stranger among familiar faces and landsmarks. A State of Independence recounts the first three days of Bertram's inauspicious h ...more
Paperback, 158 pages
Published April 7th 1995 by Picador (first published 1986)
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Emma Emsal
Jan 14, 2016 Emma Emsal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was very enlightening, to say the least. There is a constant question of identity and also national belonging, in which our main character (Bertram Francis) experiences throughout this novel. It is an eye opener and shows the fluidity of where/what/how we consider ourselves in terms of our national identity. This man leaves his home and returns 20 years later only to realise that all has changed, and that he can no longer consider it his 'home' but neither can he consider England his h ...more
Maame Prempeh
That feeling of being lost and out of touch with one's sense of belonging. Had this book for 14 years, lost it and bought another. Finally finished it. An interesting read, not much happens as the main protagonist is lost in himself, the amount of time he drinks beer, I need to arrange for an AA meeting. I enjoyed it, at least I've been to St Kits mentally.
Sep 21, 2014 Say rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Betram Francis returns home to St Kitt's after 20 years, for independence day.

He seems to expect people to be pleased to see him, to make a business using some savings and for some things to have changed. In fact everything and nothing has changed. Over the course of a couple of days he discovers all this and seems, perhaps with the assistance of a good few beers to come to peace with it all and where he's at.
Ruth Vanderhart
Jul 25, 2010 Ruth Vanderhart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Phillips is a wordsmith. This little gem of a novel sparkles with sensory images. It transports the reader to St. Kitts--with all its colors, smells, tastes, and sounds. It imprints on the reader's mind the islanders' poverty and indomitable spirit on the eve of their independence from Britain.
Kris McCracken
Very short and a little rough around the edges, a solid little story about a sense of place and whether or not ‘home’ actually exists. Worth a look.
Nov 18, 2012 Lydell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Incredible read. Characters are richly drawn out and the novel’s insights are tight and sharp.
Interesting slice-of-life in St. Kitts. Nothing really happens, though.
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Caryl Phillips was born in St.Kitts and came to Britain at the age of four months. He grew up in Leeds, and studied English Literature at Oxford University.

He began writing for the theatre and his plays include Strange Fruit (1980), Where There is Darkness (1982) and The Shelter (1983). He won the BBC Giles Cooper Award for Best Radio Play of the year with The Wasted Years (1984). He has written
More about Caryl Phillips...

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