The Children of Sisyphus.

First Edition of this Jamaican author’s first novel, one of the first to consider the emerging Rastafarian movement and the Jamaican ghetto (the Dungle). Patterson’s existentialist story was advertised in the Times Literary Supplement as a “picture of a dark aspect of West Indian society, a sub-world of crime, violence, and religious extremism, not previously recorded by a novelist.” (March 12, 1964)

The book has twenty-three short chapters. Through the perspective of such characters as Dinah, a prostitute, and Brother Solomon, a Rastafarian leader, the novel explores the gritty, dehumanizing world in which they struggle to survive. The dust jacket for this American edition describes the book as a “novel from a newer world about an ultimate primitivism” and describing the Rastafarians as a bizarre cult, a “racist group, betrayed by their leaders into the fantastic notion that their return to Ethiopia —the ‘Israel’ of their dreams— is imminent.”

H. Orlando Patterson (b.1940) holds the John Cowles Chair in sociology at Harvard and is noted for his work on issues of race and slavery in the United States and Jamaica. Remarkably, Dr. Patterson wrote the Children of Sisyphus while simultaneously pursuing his Ph. D. at the London School of Economics and writing his dissertation on The Sociology of Slavery. Patterson received the First Prize for Fiction at the Dakar Festival of Negro Arts in 1966 for The Children of Sisyphus. He also won the National Award for Non-Fiction in 1991. A lovely copy and increasingly scarce.

Description: The Children of Sisyphus.

London: New Authors Limited, 1964. 206 pages. Publisher’s cloth. A near fine copy with light foxing to top-edge of textblock and interior of dustwrapper.


Price: $450.00

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