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Minty Alley: A collection of rediscovered works celebrating Black Britain curated by Booker Prize-winner Bernardine Evaristo

Minty Alley: A collection of rediscovered works celebrating Black Britain curated by Booker Prize-winner Bernardine Evaristo by C.L.R. James, and Bernardine Evaristo

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By C.L.R. James, and and, Bernardine Evaristo

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2 reviews

The only novel from the world-renowned writer C.L.R. James – this extraordinary, big-hearted exploration of class was the first novel by a black West Indian to be published in the UK

‘A novel written nearly a hundred years ago that brings the past alive with such charm, vitality and humour.’ Bernardine Evaristo, from the Introduction

‘As he walked home he looked up at the myriads of stars, shining in the moonlight. Did people live there? And if they did, what sort of life did they live?’

It is the 1920s in the Trinidadian capital, and Haynes’ world has been upended. His mother has passed away, and his carefully mapped-out future of gleaming opportunity has disappeared with her.

Unable to afford his former life, he finds himself moving into Minty Alley – a bustling barrack yard teeming with energy and a spectacular cast of characters. In this sliver of West Indian working-class society, outrageous love affairs and passionate arguments are a daily fixture, and Haynes begins to slip from curious observer to the heart of the action.

Minty Alley is a gloriously observed portrayal of class, community and the ways in which we are all inherently connected. An undisputed modern classic, this is an exceptional story told by one of the twentieth century’s greatest Caribbean thinkers.

Selected by Booker Prize-winning author Bernardine Evaristo, this series rediscovers and celebrates pioneering books depicting black Britain that remap the nation.


25 Jun 2021

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[email protected] for Blackheath reading group

Our reading group was gifted Minty alley by L.R Alley to review
I wasn’t sure at first whether I would like this as it was slow to get into – but once I did I was glad that I read it and I really enjoyed it . It had a really interesting setting in Trinidad which was really well descripted. The book had such a modern feel that I couldn’t believe that it was written a 100 years ago lots of really authentic and relevant themes were covered which made the book a good book group choice. The central character was really well developed and I found his story fascinating as I didn't really know anything about life in the Caribbean.

Helen - Blackheath Library

08 Feb 2021

Very good book. As someone from T&T the language, characters, behaviours and beliefs were very familiar. It is a true representation of the island. It gives insight into how important Christianity was to the country. It also gives insight into the inherent but masked problem of racism between the Afro and Indo Trinidadians. It also highlights the class systems which still exists even today. It is very good at describing how there is a general and genuine community feel amongst villagers and how neighbours look out for each other. The pedestal upon which the islanders place America was also highlighted. After reading the book, I felt like I knew each of the characters personally. C.L.R James succeeded at transporting me, the reader, to No. 2 Minty Alley through this book. I felt like I was always looking out of Hayne's window.

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