March 8th 2004
544 pages
B-format paperback



The Polished Hoe by Austin Clarke

Buy Now Price 7.99

There is a mesmerising stillness to Austin Clarke’s latest novel . . . Out of a single act of retribution [he] has spun an entire history, one in which freedom, love and even languor all have their place

New York Times

Bimshire, 1952. The Sergeant of the island’s police force is called to hear a murderous confession. A lifetime of tragic compromise told in a single night. Layers of disturbing history unfold as Mary-Mathilda – fair-skinned mistress of plantation manager Mr Bellfeels – weaves her intimate story of passion, motherhood and loss culminating in a gruesome revenge.

Respect to Tindal Street Press for bringing to the UK this soaring and sorrowful novel of Caribbean life… Austin Clarke creates a seething panorama of sex, race and power… The novel’s language proves as lush, seductive – and dangerous – as its landscape

The Independent

The beauty of The Polished Hoe lies in the poetry of its telling and the marvellous voice of Mary-Mathilda. The value of the novel lies in its patient exploration of the sacrifices that are made for the sake of survival

The Washington Post

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 cruelty

The Times

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