Distant Shore, A

Phillips, Caryl

  8 Reviews

Two lonely lives intertwine in this novel set in contemporary England. Dorothy has recently moved to a new subdivision in a small village after a forced retirement. Solomon, an illegal immigrant escaping a violent past in Africa, is the night watchman at the subdivision. They form a cautious friendship. A poignant and quietly powerful portrait of contemporary alienation. Commonwealth Writers' Prize, Best Book.

Comments from Groups

Although not a book most of us would have chosen, it generated a lot of discussion and most enjoyed the book. Some found the time sequence a little bamboozling but not detracting.

The retrospective narrative technique makes this story and interesting read. The lives of the two main characters make one respond emotionally. All in all the group enjoyed the book. Te Pirita 001

Animated discussion - especially on the loneliness and ethnicity of immigrants. The book was well written but the content very depressing. Geraldine 002

This book provoked a very good discussion. A bleak book in many ways, but worth recommending. Greytown 001

The time jumps were found to be distracting. Some elements of the escape to the UK were regarded as unrealistic. Quality of writing was good but it was a depressing book. Wellington 156



HAVE 005
Two members didn't finish the book because it was so depressing. The rest of the group thought Caryl Phillips a wonderful writer, and we had a lively discussion on various topics raised in the novel.
WANG 005
Most of the group thought that the book was rather "dark", but cleverly told with the storyline jumping all over the place. Despite the changing angle of narrative, the author kept us curious! We had a lively discussion about the multiple layers within the story.
A challenging read for those of us who didn't read the notes before reading. A very confusing story, but then we discovered that was the author's intention, following the state of mind of the main characters. Engendered some interesting discussion.
GISB 005
Well-written, sad - lots of discussion had about current world affairs.
AUCK 153
A mixed response to this book. Although all agreed it was very well-written; some really liked it while others found it depressing.
Those that finished the book found it had some valuable themes and topics to discuss. The author wrote well. Some members got a bit lost with the time frames. Discussion notes very good.
CHCH 203
Great discussion material though depressing read!
MAST 005
An excellent read, and some of us remembered we had read this in 2007! We enjoyed the writing style, with the subject relevant today. Attitudes haven't changed towards immigrants, or mental illness. Sad but realistic.