Tuesday, 21 December 2010
The Lonely Londoners by Sam Selvon
8 years ago I was meant to do a university module on post-colonial literature focusing on immigration/emigration, this was on the reading list, I got put in a post-colonial literature class but not the one I'd applies for. This book has stayed on my mental tbr list for all that time and today I finally got to it.
The Lonely Londoners focuses on a group of immigrants from Trinidad, who arrive in dank foggy London just after the war (why is London always foggy in books? I've been there loads of times and never recall it being foggy). Mainly young men, this novel looks at the lives that they create for themselves, in a country that once wanted them but quickly turned its back on them.
The writing is vernacular, which I know some people struggle with, but I quickly found a nice voice in my head so it didn't hinder the speed I read in. Focusing on a small group of men the story focused a lot on their white girlfriends and the way that the men all swindle each other and others around them for money. The strangest part featured a 4 page, no punctuation account of these black men being paid to sleep with white prostitues so white men could watch - this seemed very out of place in style, and I just wanted them to get angry, rather than see it as a free 'treat'.
The style of the novel shows a way of life, but never goes beneath the surface and really shows you how the characters felt about their treatment. Having said that I enjoyed it, but thought that 120 odd pages was enough - no story, character stood out to keep the novel moving for much longer.