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The Last Enchantment

Authors: Neville Dawes

Published by Peepal Tree Press

ISBN: 9781845231170

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In this partly autobiographical novel, the death of Alphonso Tull heralds for his son, Ramsay, the beginning of a new Jamaica. His father has taught him ‘always show respec’ to white people, mi son. Is dem rule the world you know’, but in post-Worldwar Jamaica, Black racial discontents and the desire for national independence are threatening the old colonial order. But for Ramsay, the first stage of his growth is a movement away from his people to the privileges of study at Oxford University, where there is immersion in European literary culture and Marxism.

On his return to Jamaica, Ramsay becomes actively involved in radical nationalist politics, and begins his second journey, away from his middle-class origins and back to an involvement and true appreciation of the Jamaican people.

On its original publication in 1960, The Last Enchantment was remarked on for its penetrating exploration of Jamaican racial politics. This quality is still fresh, but for contemporary readers what will shine from the novel is the sensuous apprehension of the Jamaican landscape and the language of the people.

Neville Dawes was born in Nigeria in 1926 of Jamaican parents, but grew up in rural Sturge Town in Jamaica. He studied for an MA at Oxford (Oriel College) and later taught in Jamaica, Ghana and Guyana.
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