Dimensions: 480 pages, 3.64 × 2.46 × 0.49 in
Published: September 3, 2002
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 0887621104
ISBN - 13: 9780887621109
From the Publisher
Winner of the 2002 Scotiabank Giller Prize and of the 2003
Commonwealth Writers'' Prize: Best Book (Canada and the
When an elderly Bimshire village woman calls the police to confess
to a murder, the result is a shattering all-night vigil that brings
together elements of the African diaspora in one epic sweep. Set on
the post-colonial West Indian island of Bimshire in 1952, The
Polished Hoe unravels over the course of 24 hours but spans
the lifetime of one woman and the collective experience of a
society informed by slavery.
As the novel opens, Mary Mathilda is giving confession to
Sargeant, a police officer she has known all her life. The man she
claims to have murdered is Mr. Belfeels, the village plantation
owner for whom she has worked for more than thirty years. Mary has
also been Mr. Belfeels'' mistress for most of that time and is the
mother of his only son, Wilbeforce, a successful doctor.
What transpires through Mary''s words and recollections is a deep
meditation about the power of memory and the indomitable strength
of the human spirit. Infused with Joycean overtones, this is a
literary masterpiece that evokes the sensuality of the tropics and
the tragic richness of Island culture.
About the Author
Culminating with the international success of The Polished
Hoe in 2002, Austin Clarke''s work since 1964 includes ten
novels, six short-story collections, and three memoirs published in
the United States, England, Canada, Australia and Holland. In 1998,
Clarke was invested with the Order of Canada, and since then he has
received four honorary doctorates. In 1999, he was the winner of
the W.O. Mitchell Prize, awarded to a Canadian writer who has
produced an outstanding body of work and served as a mentor for
other writers. In that year, he also received the Martin Luther
King Junior Award for Excellence in Writing. Austin Clarke lives in
From Our Editors
The Polished Hoe is an epic symphony of Caribbean life.
Layers of disturbing history slowly unfold through one woman's
intimate, murderous confession. Mary-Mathilda - the fair-skinned
mistress of a cruel plantation manager - tells her story in an
exquisite, dancing vernacular and it is the story of a life, a
culture, a time gone by. But its meditation on love, loss and
sacrifice, and its explorations of lives distorted by the horrors
of racism are utterly contemporary.
Austin Clarke''s latest novel, The Polished Hoe, is that
rare creation that soars above the earth to become more than the
sum of its parts.