Set in Barbados in the early 1950s, this uncompromising novel depicts the pain of childhood in a world where poverty and blackness are despised, and kids are treated as objects on which adults can take out their self-contempt and frustration. Milton Sobers is a nine-year-old on the run from a series of sadistic beatings from both his schoolmaster and his washer-woman mother. Dreaming of a life in Harlem, which is predominately black, open, and free, Milton encounters many comic and sad adventures that inevitably return him to the situation he was trying to escape. Originally published in 1965, this pertinent portrayal of the destruction of innocence explores the commonality of physical violence in the lives of Caribbean youth while offering hope for the intelligent child protagonist.
Used availability for Austin Clarke's Amongst Thistles and Thorns
November 2010 : UK Paperback