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The Life and Death of Sylvia

Published by Peepal Tree Press

ISBN: 9781845231200

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When Sylvia Ann Russell’s louche and philandering English father is murdered in scandalous circumstances, she soon discovers that for a young woman with a black mother, 1930’s Georgetown is a place of hazard. This is a world where men seek either respectable wives from 'good' families, or vulnerable young women to exploit. Here the fall from respectability to prostitution at the Viceroy Hotel can be all too rapid.

The Life and Death of Sylvia is a pioneering and affecting novel of social protest over the fate of women in a misogynist world – and a richly imagined study of character, that inhabits Sylvia’s psyche with great inwardness. But Mittelholzer’s ambition extends beyond character and protest. His goal is to present Sylvia’s individual fate as cosmically meaningful, both when she redeems herself by reclaiming her own story through writing, and by making her story part of the larger patterns of sex and death, creativity and decay, sound and silence that he composes in this onwards surging 'Georgetown symphony' of life.

Edgar Mittelholzer was born in British Guiana in 1909. He wrote more than twenty novels. He eventually settled in England, where he lived until his death in 1965, a suicide predicted in several of his novels.
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