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A Distant Shore

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  491 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
Dorothy is a retired schoolteacher who has recently moved to a housing estate in a small village. Solomon is a night-watchman, an immigrant from an unnamed country in Africa. Each is desperate for love. And yet each harbors secrets that may make attaining it impossible.
With breathtaking assurance and compassion, Caryl Phillips retraces the paths that lead Dorothy and Solom
ebook, 288 pages
Published December 18th 2007 by Vintage (first published January 2003)
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Mar 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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"England has changed. These days it's difficult to tell who's from round here and who's not. Who belongs and who's a stranger. It's disturbing. It doesn't feel right."

Dorothy, a retired schoolteacher. She sounds like a bigot. Especially when just two pages later she says she retired when the grammar school where she taught music went comprehensive. "I was suddenly asked to teach whoever came into the school-we all were. Difficult kids I don't mind, but I draw the line at yobs."

Oh but Dorothy, D
Nancy Oakes
Feb 12, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was just simply stunning. The prose was superb, the stories tragic. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys finely-written literature. Many readers may not like the structure of this novel, nor the fact that the story is told in almost flashback like format; it took me a little while to figure out that time is not linear in the novel.

A brief synopsis:
Set in England, there are two main characters in this novel. One is Dorothy who is in her fifties, and has retired from teaching music
Kris McCracken
Mar 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve read a few of his books, and although he’s not the most refined of writers, one thing that Caryl Phillips can do is tell a story. This story is one of two people, both lonely and exist largely outside the mainstream of society. One is a retired teacher and the other an African refugee.

Stylistically, the book's sections jump between the perspectives of the two main characters, and the story is relayed in a non-linear, broken fashion, so the reader is often caught on the back foot in terms of
Feb 09, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Read this for my Transnational Fiction grad seminar. I APPRECIATE this book, but did not enjoy reading it. It shifts narrative perspective and tense too many times for my beleaguered brain to handle (which, I get it, is commentary on dislocation and the transnational/migrant experience). I found the female protagonist to be insufferable, and while I don't think I need to like a character in order to care about her story, this was certainly the case with this novel.
An elaborate character study, with fluid prose and cunning subtext, A Distant Shore is a powerful book. A brief friendship between a repressed English schoolmarm with issues and an immigrant man fleeing his country after a bloody war, triggers the flashback - first Dorothy, then the man called Solomon. They're neither of them simple, neither of them wonderful. Much is left unsaid, but it is not so vague as to be opaque. It is also a critique on society, of England's (or more correctly, universal ...more
May 14, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
meh - I felt like the non-linear narration distracted from rather than enhanced the story. Had trouble sympathizing with either of the main characters - she's obnoxious and crazy and he's relatively passive while all kinds of bad things happen to him.
Mar 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
about a retired black professor in england. unbelievable, quiet, smooth-river prose. this won so many awards its not funny. his new book of essays comes out in may 2011
Mar 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a pleasant surprise this book turned out to be.
Mar 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really a 4.5/5
Jun 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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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...