A bleak portrayal of life on the Dungle—the rubbish heap where the very poorest squat—this beautifully poetic, existentialist novel turns an unwavering eye to life in the Jamaican ghetto. By interweaving the stories of Dinah, a prostitute who can never quite escape the circumstances of her life, and Brother Solomon, a respected Rastafarian leader who allows his followers to think that a ship is on its way to take them home to Ethiopia, this brutally poetic story creates intense and tragic characters who struggle to come to grips with the absurdity of life. As these downtrodden protagonists shed their illusions and expectations, they realize that there is no escape from meaninglessness, and eventually gain a special kind of dignity and stoic awareness about life and the universe.
About the Author
Orlando Patterson is a professor of sociology at Harvard University and the author of various works of nonfiction as well as the novels An Absence of Ruins and Die the Long Day. His short stories and reviews have appeared in a variety of journals, and two of his short stories have been anthologized. He is the winner of the National Book Award for Non-Fiction for Freedom and the Making of Western Culture. He holds honorary degrees from several universities, including the University of Chicago, UCLA, and La Trobe University in Australia, and was awarded the Order of Distinction by the Government of Jamaica. He lives in Boston.