Around the World in 80 Books discussion

The Final Passage
This topic is about The Final Passage
Group Reads Discussions > Discussion for The Final Passage

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Diane , Armchair Tour Guide (new) - rated it 3 stars

Diane  | 12949 comments Start discussion here for The Final Passage by Caryl Phillips.

message 2: by Diane , Armchair Tour Guide (last edited Mar 15, 2018 04:35PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Diane  | 12949 comments About the Author (from British Council Literature)

Caryl Phillips was born on 13 March 1958 on the Caribbean island of St Kitts. He grew up in Leeds, England, and read English at Queen's College, Oxford. He is the author of six novels, several books of non-fiction and has written for film, theatre, radio and television. Much of his writing - both fiction and non-fiction - has focused on the legacy of the Atlantic slave trade and its consequences for the African Diaspora. The Final Passage (1985), his first novel, won the Malcolm X Prize for Literature. It tells the story of a young woman who leaves her home in the Caribbean to start a new life with her husband and baby in 1950s London.

Book Summary (from

A haunting work about "the final passage"—the exodus of black West Indians from their impoverished islands to the uncertain opportunities of England. In her village of St. Patrick's, Leila Preston has no prospects, a young son, and a husband, Michael, who seems to prefer the company of his mistress. So when her ailing mother travels to England for medical care, Leila decides to follow her. The Final Passage follows the Prestons' outward voyage—and their bewildered attempt to find a home in a country whose rooming houses post signs announcing "No vacancies for coloreds"—a portrait of hope and dislocation.

Missy J (missyj333) | 222 comments Diane wrote: "Discussion Questions (from On the Same Page Cincinatti)

1. In the realm of fiction, the idea of "traveling over water" is often used as a metaphor for a journey to a new land or for the passage of..."

Sorry, but these are not the questions to the book The Final Passage. These questions seem to belong to another Caryl Phillips book.

Laurie | 630 comments I found this story irritating because none of the characters are particularly likeable. Why Michael married Leila is a mystery to me since he was cheating on her even before the marriage took place and never seemed to have much feeling for either her or his mistress. He also gives virtually no thought or care for his sons by either woman. MIchael has no real redeeming characteristics.

Leila is annoying because she is so accepting of Michael's indifference. She never confronts him over his infidelity or over his lack of attention to her and Calvin. She always hopes he will help her out, but she never says anything when he doesn't.

Leila's relationship with her mother is important to the story, but it isn't explored all that much. Her mother is distant, but Leila never knows why. The reader finds out why, but it seems presented as almost a sidenote. Leila passively waits at the end for her mother to open up to her and like everything else in Leila's life, it doesn't happen. She is so passive about so many things and then she seems confused why her life doesn't go as she would like. I found this and the lack of resolution at the end exasperating.

back to top

unread topics | mark unread

Books mentioned in this topic

The Final Passage (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Caryl Phillips (other topics)