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Our Lady of Demerara

Authors: David Dabydeen

Published by Peepal Tree Press

ISBN: 9781845230692

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Drama critic Lance Yardley is only 30 but is already a seedy wreck of a man, spending his nights in the back streets of Coventry looking for prostitutes. A working-class boy brought up in a broken home on a council estate, he has sought escape in literature and through his marriage to an actress, the great-granddaughter of a 19th-century Englishman who made his fortune from the sugar plantations in Guyana.

At first Elizabeth attracts Yardley, but their differences of class exacerbate the mutual hatred that grows between them. Later he is drawn to a mysterious Indian girl, Rohini. She seems shy, but sells her body to customers when her boss goes out of town. When she dies suddenly, the victim of a strange and violent assassin, Yardley decides to decamp abroad for a while.

He goes to Guyana, not least because he wants to learn more about an Irish priest who as an old man has been a priest in Coventry, but as a young man had worked as a missionary in Guyana. The priest’s fragmented journals seem to offer Yardley some possible answers to his own spiritual malaise, but the Guyana he discovers provokes more questions than answers.

David Dabydeen was born in Guyana. He has published six acclaimed novels and three collections of poetry. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Professor of Literary Studies at the University of Warwick.
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