An Absence of Ruins
Published by Peepal Tree Press
An Absence of Ruins was originally published in 1967, a period of decolonising ferment in Jamaica. This important and much sought-after Caribbean classic is now lovingly restored to print, with an introduction by Jeremy Poynting.
Patterson writes in the tradition of Dostoyevsky and Camus, creating a spiritual heir to the unnamed ‘I’ of Notes from the Underground or La Chute. Through the tangled love life of one Alexander Blackman, Patterson offers up a devastating critique of middle-class pretension, turning instead to the vibrant realities of the Jamaican working class. Full of sardonic humour and social commentary, the novel looks into the dark heart of social hierarchy, colonial education and the impact both have on the individual and the many.
“A very moving book about integrity preserved through an honest appraisal of its apparent loss.”
Robert Nye, The Guardian
Orlando Patterson was born in Jamaica in 1940. He is the author of three novels: The Children of Sisyphus (1964, reprinted by Peepal Tree Press, 2011), An Absence of Ruins (1967), and Die the Long Day (1972). He received the National Book Award for Non-Fiction in 1991, and the Order of Distinction from the Government of Jamaica in 1999. He is now Professor of Sociology at Harvard University.