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Incomparable World

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  45 ratings  ·  13 reviews
In the years just after the American Revolution, London was the unlikely refuge for thousands of black Americans who had fought for the British in exchange for a promise of freedom. Incomparable World is their story, an unconventional debut novel that follows the adventures of three African Americans who have escaped their master's lash only to find themselves outcast once ...more
Hardcover, 213 pages
Published August 17th 1998 by George Braziller Inc. (first published 1996)
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Average rating 3.82  · 
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 ·  45 ratings  ·  13 reviews

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This was the March choice in my year-long subscription to an UK bookshop. And it was welcomed because the main interest for me of this subscription is the surprise aspect and the opportunity to widen my interests and reading. I did not know the author, nor was I aware of the historical context on which the novel is based. When the American Revolution finished, Britain offered those enslaved Africans who had fought on their side, to emigrate to Britain, free. Given that the Abolition Act of Slave
K.J. Charles
A hugely powerful short novel of former US slaves turned Revolutionary War soldiers now scraping an existence in London in the 1780s when Britain's black population was at its pre 20th century peak.

This is amazing. Full of historical detail including a lot of real people, and rammed with the stench and filth of the city. Terrific sense of place and time.

It is a brutal book in some ways because those were brutal times. England's perfidy to the soldiers it used is clear, as is the endemic racism
In Bernardine Evaristo’s introduction to Incomparable World she said, “To my knowledge, Incomparable World, remains the only novel about this specific aspect of Black British History. Indeed, so few novels have been written about the Black presence in these shores before the twentieth century that the field is almost completely wide open for writers to colour in the empty space

Incomparable World was the second book I read in the series that Bernardine Evaristo curated for Black Britain:
Katherine Stansfield
I absolutely loved this novel set in London in the 1780s. It follows the fortunes of a small group of Black American soldiers, formerly enslaved, who fought for the British in the American Revolution. Their 'reward' for this is to be re-settled in Britain where they struggle to survive and face continual threats of deportation. As the introduction by series editor Bernardine Evaristo makes clear, the experiences of this community at this point in time, in this part of the world, are largely abse ...more
Feb 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
A 3.5 from me for this one.

I wanted to love this book, the foreword, from Bernardine Evaristo suggested so much, and the premise sounded brilliant. A story of 18th Century London, ex-slaves, historical figures, and a heist- what's not to love? Sadly, the reality fell quite flat for me.

The writing is jerky and inconsistent slipping between present and past tense seemingly at random, and with the feel of a first, un-edited draft. The dialogue is not good for much of the time either managing to f
Lottie Reason
May 31, 2021 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this novel. The three African American protagonists, having fought for their freedom and the British in the American Revolution, believed Britain would offer them a better life. How wrong they were, brutality, poverty, crime, gaol and the reality of what it’s like to be black in 18th Britain.
However, the tale is fast paced with great historical detail, the characters shady but engaging even
with the brutal backdrop.
A facinating and enlightening read. The story was a mix of trauma, hope, triumph all mixed with harsh reality. I felt despair one minute, shocked the next but overall compelled to read on. I even found myself searching for references on the period to better understand the times and the slang between chapters.
May 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
Not quite four stars but definitely more than 3 stars. Powerful story about the tough conditions met by slaves who fought for the British when they returned to London after the War. Well-written with great characters.
Joanna Ward
Jun 12, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
very enjoyable and a fascinating insight into a period of / perspective on history that I was totally unaware of !
Nov 25, 2008 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 19, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-bad, ready-reads
An entertaining and instructional read . London is a portrayed as a very unpleasant place, bit farcical.
Emer Martin
May 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book, a glimpse into a world in a certain point of history that is indeed incomparable. Martin has the ability to create complex characters, his prose flows beautifully and the over all effect is one of profound empathy for the characters. Highly recommended.
Cheryl Parkinson PhD
Oct 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting to see what the world used to be like for us. Humour inside made me chuckle in places, but felt incredibly sorry for the protagonist. Glad he got a happy ending of sorts... And Charlotte? well... lol
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