…brilliantly written dialogue, a rich, dancing patois that fills out the dimensions of the island's painful history and its complex caste system.
An utterly extraordinary and thoroughly compelling tragedy of Shakespearean scope…stunning and heart-rending…it ought to be both widely read and deeply remembered.
Globe and Mail
An unqualified masterpiece.
…The Polished Hoe is a remarkable achievement. Its story is obviously deeply felt…
The London Free Press
It's an undeniably ambitious work...the story unfolds over one evening--which actually spans a lifetime... It was long past the time when Austin Clarke should have been acknowledged as one of Canada's most important and most accomplished writers.
…a wonderful book to meander through…
Quill & Quire
an incredible panorama of the post-colonial experience…an impressive work by a highly accomplished Canadian author deserved of recognition indeed.
Toronto's Women's Newspaper
…extremely ambitious…compulsively readable and challenging at the same time…This is an unforgettable novel.
The Polished Hoe is a magnificent, breath-taking plunge into the secret depths of human relations…Clarke is a master at capturing the flavour and nuance of language and weaving its local intricacies into universal stories.
Austin Clarke's latest novel, The Polished Hoe, is that rare creation that soars above the earth to become more than the sum of its parts.
Books in Canada
There's a mesmerizing stillness to Austin Clarke's latest novel
The New York Times
Respect to Tindal Street Press for bringing to the UK this soaring and sorrowful novel of Caribbean life . . . The novel's language proves as lush, seductive - and dangerous - as its landscape
An extraordinary tale of lust and oppression . . . a beautiful light-skinned "black" woman [is] forced by the ambition of her mother and the sexual appetite of her colonial master to live a dangerous double life as beneficiary and plaything of a society steeped in racial cruelty
A richly crafted novel which eludes, defies categories; it is variously wistful and agonising, ironic and sensual; a tragic tale, relentlessly wrought
2003 Commonwealth Writers' Prize Jury Citation