THIS ISLAND, NOW by Peter Abrahams


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Mr. Abrahams' island is in the Caribbean, but as he indicates in a prefatory aside to the reader, it could be anywhere. Just as his novel parallels what is going on today in the schisms between color and class and between the governing elite (a white and brown-skinned minority) and the people (blacks). As the story opens the Old Man, who had ruled the island for many years, has just died; he was a bully. Now control is taken by Albert Josiah, a dictator, who believes in the people (the lacuna of the now displaced first families, civil servants, etc.). In Josiah's determination to initiate radical change, there are suspensions, ousters, and arrests--the revolution triumphs but fails, since he is left alone knowing that ""it was only a matter of time, before he would have to be as harsh with the people as he had been with their enemies."" Abrahams personalizes all this through those involved in the backlash of the upheaval-a leading mercantile family, a newspaperwoman, a judge, etc. If the issues take precedence, they are certainly relevant ones and give the book a commensurate interest.

Pub Date: Sept. 18th, 1967
Publisher: Knopf