In The Pleasures of Exile, as in his other works, George Lamming embraces the intricate issues of colonization and decolonization with a canny combination of playfulness and seriousness, irony and commitment. “[It] is a reciprocal process,” Lamming observes, “to be a colonial is to be a man in a certain relation; and this relation is an example of exile.”
Through a series of interrelated essays, The Pleasures of Exile explores the cultural politics and relationships created in the crucible of colonization. Drawing on Shakespeare’s The Tempest and C. L. R. James’s The Black Jacobins, as well as his own fiction and poetry, Lamming deftly locates the reader in a specific intellectual and cultural domain while conjuring a rich and varied spectrum of physical, intellectual, psychological, and cultural responses to colonialism.
“My subject,” he writes, “is the migration of the West Indian writer, as colonial and exile, from his native kingdom, once inhabited by Caliban, to the tempestuous island of Prospero’s and his language. This book is a report on one man’s way of seeing.”