Austin Clarke’s luminous novel, written in vivid, hypnotic prose, reveals the dislocations of place and the nature of memory and the past. Two elderly Barbadian men, childhood friends who haven’t seen each other in fifty years, collide in a snowstorm on a Toronto street. In the warmth of a nearby bar, through the afternoon and into the night, they relate stories, exchange opinions, and share memories of a past in Barbados when, as children, neither could conceive any other place existed for them. As these two men confess to each other their innermost truths, their exploits and their love affairs, one tells the haunting story of a young Chinese woman, the other of the real reason for his visit to Toronto. Infused with pathos and humour, and with an affecting nostalgia for the idea of home, The Origin of Waves is a stunning and original novel by one of the country’s most gifted writers.
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