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The Children of Sisyphus

Published by Peepal Tree Press

ISBN: 9781845230944

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The Children of Sisyphus is the story of Dinah, a prostitute who lives and fails to find love on the Dungle, the rubbish heap where the very poorest squat. Trapped by patriarchy and male passivity, and cursed by one of her rivals, Dinah is forced into a panicked flight to save herself. But involvement with a revival church and the favour of Shepherd John, who proposes a new life outside Jamaica, leads her to the delusion that she has found escape and meaning, a lived lie that has tragic consequences.

In Patterson’s brutally poetic existentialist novel, dignity comes with a stoic awareness of the absurdity of life.

Introduced by Kwame Dawes.

Orlando Patterson was born in Jamaica in 1940. Having studied at the University of the West Indies and at the London School of Economics, in 1970 he took the position of Visiting Associate Professor at Harvard, where he is now John Cowles Professor of Sociology. The Children of Sisyphus received the First Prize for Fiction at the Dakar Festival of Negro Arts in 1966. His other novels are An Absence of Ruins (1967) and Die the Long Day (1972). He was awarded the Order of Distinction by the Government of Jamaica in 1999.
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