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I live in Bedford, England. Having retired from teaching; I am now a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Threshold Concepts in the context of A-level Physics. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. I have also recently become a keen playgoer to London Fringe Theatre. I enjoy mostly classics and I read the playscripts and add those to the blog. I am a member of Bedford Writers' Circle. See their website here: http://bedford-writers.co.uk/ Follow me on twitter: @daja57

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Moses Ascending" by Sam Selvon

This is the sequel to Selvon's The Lonely Londoners whose narrator, Moses, has moved out of his basement flat to buy a ramshackle house on a short lease and become a landlord. To this end he hires a 'Man Friday', white Bob from Ashby-de-la-Zouche who not only manages the other tenants but also acts as butler to Moses whilst Moses writes his memoirs. But gorgeous black girl Brenda sets up a Black Power office in the basement and Faizal and Farrukh are using the house as part of their people-trafficking business.

The narration voice of Moses is a wonderful mixture of Caribbean patois and literary English including Shakespearean and Biblical quotes, misspelled words and malapropisms. But this book lacks the gritty authenticity of Lonely Londoners. Where it wins is in the wonderfully subtle humour; after Moses has been asked to suggest some newspaper headlines Brenda tells him: "Stop making up alliterations. Concentrate on something thoughtful, tense, taut and telling."  (p 136) There is a lot in this vein.


  • "You does wonder what crime this country commit that it have to punish so with this evil weather." (p 7)
  • "Every now and then a fleck of spit flying out of his mouth which I dodge when I see it coming." (p 16)
  • "Whereas he was like a lion, he went out like a lamb." (p 32)
  • "I had to peddle my own canoe for survival." (p 51)
  • "It's the sheep that should be praying." (p 73)
  • "You could fool a white man with any shit if he believe it will prolong the sexual act." (p 76)
  • "The hero will gird his lions, and after a series of breathtaking adventures, successfully overcome the forces of evil." (p 84)
  • "When you crooked you bend." (p 87)
  • "Kay sir rah, sir rah, as the Japanese say." (p 88)
  • "They say the world is round, but a donkey shit square." (p 140)


Great fun. February 2017; 185 pages

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