George V. Reilly

Review: The Polished Hoe

The Polished Hoe
Title: The Polished Hoe
Author: Austin Clarke
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Amistad
Copyright: 2003
Pages: 462
Keywords: fiction
Reading period: 6-10 September, 2007

Mary-Mathilda has been the mistress of Bellfeels, a plantation owner in Bimshire (a lightly fic­tion­al­ized Barbados), since her early teens. One night, she calls the police to confess a crime. Sargeant, who has silently loved her since they were children, takes her Statement over the course of a very long, discursive night. A night in which many ugly secrets bubble to the surface. Secrets about Mary-Mathilda’s past, secrets about the English elite who ruled pre-War Bimshire, secrets about the plantation: secrets that Sargeant doesn’t really want to hear.

An odd, meandering novel that moves slowly, but nonethe­less held my attention.

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