Austin Clarke is one of Canadas foremost authors, whose work includes ten novels, six short-story collections, three memoirs, and two collections of poetry. His novel The Polished Hoe won the 2002 Giller Prize. Clarke is a member of the Order of Canada, holds four honorary doctorates, and has been awarded the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, the W.O. Mitchell Prize, and the Casa de las Américas Prize, among others.
Winner of the 2009 Toronto Book Award
From the winner of the 2002 Giller Prize comes Austin Clarke’s much anticipated new novel, More. At the news of her son’s involvement in gang crime, Idora Morrison collapses in her rented basement apartment. For four days and nights, she retreats into a vortex of memory, pain, and disappointment that unravels a riveting dissection of her life as a black immigrant to Toronto. Idora has lived in Canada for 25 years. She has struggled to make ends meet and her deadbeat husband Bertram has abandoned her for a better life in America. Left alone to raise her son BJ, Idora does her best to survive against very difficult odds. Now that BJ has disappeared into a life of crime and gang warfare, she recoils from this loss and tries to understand how her life has spiraled into this tragic place. In spite of her circumstances, Idora finds her way back into the light with a courage that is both remarkable and unforgettable.
Perhaps the most political of all of Austin Clarke’s novels, More is a powerful indictment of the iniquities of racial discrimination and the crime of poverty. It is in many ways a companion volume to the award-winning The Polished Hoe. While his previous novel was a metaphorical history of slavery, More is an allegorical story about the complexities of race in modern western culture. More is an extraordinary story about oppression and redemption and hope. From one of our masters of the novel form, this is very much a book for our times.
[More] tackles the shame, anger, and frustrations of black immigrants dealing with prejudices prevalent not only in their new country, but also within their own communities...Clarke is able to use Idora's story to give his personal State of the Union on race, poverty, and immigration in Canada.
It is in Clarke's ability to capture the interior tumult of a strong mind alone, alive, grasping at threads of sanity and virtue when all other resources of cultural and social capital are closed to her, that we feel the powerful fit of Clarke's poetic monologue to the mundane reality of racialized urban existence.
Reading Clarke has become, primarily, a sensual experience ... In More, he explores such seminal themes as social estrangement and the dream deferred ... The climax, when we get there, is biblical in its resonance.
At its heart, More is an anti-valentine to a culture and city that squeeze the hope and ambition out of immigrants who hope to better their lives and instead wind up worse off than they would have been had they stayed in their Third-World island Nations.
...a powerful statement on race in Canada...
To say More is a meditation on race, class and gender in modern Western society sounds like major praise but it actually soft-shoes Clarke's smash-mouth knack for exposing the multicultural minefields we navigate.
Idora Iris Isabelle Morrison is magnificent; More surges with life.