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By Caryl Phillips

Dorothy is a retired schoolteacher who has lately moved to a housing property in a small village. Solomon is a night-watchman, an immigrant from an unnamed state in Africa. every one is determined for romance. And but every one harbors secrets and techniques which could make achieving it impossible.

With breathtaking coverage and compassion, Caryl Phillips retraces the trails that lead Dorothy and Solomon to their assembly element: her failed marriage and ruinous obsession with a more youthful guy, the horrors he witnessed as a soldier in his disintegrating place of birth, and the cruelty he encounters as a stranger in his new one. Intimate and panoramic, measured and shattering, Shore charts the oceanic expanses that separate humans from their houses, their hearts, and their selves.

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As Brigd kneads the ground meat into the flour moistened with egg, her firm red arms dotted with golden freckles become covered with particles of white dust with bits of raw meat stuck to them. Every time Brigd's torso moves back and forth at the marble table, her skirts rise an inch or two behind and show the hollow between her calf and femoral biceps, where the skin is whiter, crossed by a fine, pale-blue vein. " Aunt Ugurd says, tasting something with a wooden spoon and adding a pinch of cinnamon to the pot.

But no. Instead you pick it up, you dust it off; you have to take it back to the bookseller so he will exchange it for you. You know you are somewhat impulsive, but you have learned to control yourself. The thing that most exasperates you is to find yourself at the mercy of the fortuitous, the aleatory, the random, in things and in human actions—carelessness, approximation, imprecision, whether your own or others'. In such instances your dominant passion is the impatience to erase the disturbing effects of that arbitrariness or distraction, to re-establish the normal course of events.

Or, rather: that man is called "I" and you know nothing else about him, just as this station is called only "station" and beyond it there exists nothing except the unanswered signal of a telephone ringing in a dark room of a distant city. I hang up the receiver, I await the rattling flush, down through the metallic throat, I push the glass door again, head toward the cups piled up to dry in a cloud of steam. The espresso machines in station cafés boast their kinship with the locomotives, the espresso machines of yesterday and today with the locomotives and steam engines of today and yesterday.

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