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Escape to an Autumn Pavement (Caribbean…

Escape to an Autumn Pavement (Caribbean Modern Classics)

by Andrew Salkey

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Review: Escape To An Autumn Pavement by Andrew Salkey. 08/25/2017

This book is a Caribbean Classic about sexual identity and relationships. I enjoyed the story but it was a challenge because of the way the author’s writing style with the main character who is the narrator mixing his thoughts within the paragraphs of dialogue between characters. As the reader I had to stop and figure out if it was the thoughts of the character or dialogue interaction with someone.

The main character, Johnnie Sobert is a Jamaican refugee who works at a club in London that accommodates to Black American servicemen. He left his hometown to get away from his domineering mother and engages himself in the bohemian Soho community. Johnnie assumes a wise guy persona to hide his ingrained insecurities that has been confusing his thoughts of his unsure sexual identity. Johnnie was staying at Fiona and her husband’s rooming house which caused Johnnie confusing conflict because Fiona kept coming to his room interested in seducing him. Johnnie was angry but Fiona was determined to get her way.

Johnnie decided to move and share a place with his friend Dick even knowing Dick was in love with him. Dick questioned Johnnie about his affair with his landlady. Johnnie never thought of Dick other than a friend. One of Johnnie’s dilemmas is life expectations because that is what his parents implied during his childhood. Over time Dick has
confused Johnnie to the point of not knowing about his sexuality. Dick ended up giving Johnnie an alternative of choosing between him and Fiona. Dick went away for a week to give Johnnie time to get his life back in order and to make a decision but no matter how long Johnnie thought about his expectation he never did make a choice.

The story ended with Johnnie just walking off…. “talking to himself, telling himself what to do” ---he’s trying to reconcile his many performances, but all he’s really doing is falling into a sinkhole of inescapable despair. His escape just takes him further from the truth, from himself, and from happiness. ( )
  Juan-banjo | Aug 31, 2017 |
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