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.
About the author
Culminating with the international success of The Polished Hoe in 2002, Austin Clarke has published ten novels, six short story collections, and three memoirs in the United States, England, Canada, Australia, and Holland. Storm of Fortune, the second novel in his Toronto Trilogy about the lives of Barbadian immigrants, was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award in 1973. The Origin of Waves won the Rogers Communications Writers’ Development Trust Prize for Fiction in 1997. In 1999, his ninth novel,The Question, was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award. In 2003 he had a private audience with Queen Elisabeth in honour of his Commonwealth Prize for his tenth novel, The Polished Hoe. In 1992 Austin Clarke was honored with a Toronto Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature, and in 1997, Frontier College granted him a Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1998 he was invested with the Order of Canada, and he has received four honorary doctorates. In 1999 he received the Martin Luther King Junior Award for Excellence in Writing.
- Winner, Toronto Book Award
[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.
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.
...a powerful statement on race in Canada...
The Windsor Star
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.
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.
Globe & Mail
Idora Iris Isabelle Morrison is magnificent; More surges with life.
Other titles by Austin Clarke
The Polished Hoe
20th Anniversary Edition
When He Was Free and Young and He Used to Wear Silks
The Austin Clarke Library
'Membering / The Polished Hoe / Choosing His Coffin
In Your Crib
Growing Up Stupid Under the Union Jack