The streets of modern-day London are hectic, multicultural, and difficult to read if you are a white-collar, middle-aged man.
Keith is a social worker who, following a brief affair with a colleague, finds himself living alone in a flat a few streets away from his wife, Annabelle, and his teenage son.
His domestic problems, allied with growing tensions at work, profoundly undermine his peace of mind.
Keith attempts to take refuge in a long-cherished writing project and turns his attention to the plight of his aging father, but for the first time in his life he feels extremely vulnerable as a black man in English society.
Annabelle met Keith twenty-five years ago at university, and she watches the man she married - against the wishes of her English parents - as he appears to be losing his grip on his life.
However, after three years of estrangement, she realizes that despite her disappointment with her former husband, the pair of them have no choice but to close ranks and protect their son, who seems to have become increasingly involved with street gangs and a world that is entirely alien to them. A brilliant and penetrating story of contemporary Britain, "In the Falling Snow" is Caryl Phillips' finest novel yet.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 336 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Publishing
- Publication Date: 21/05/2009
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9781846553066
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Review by kidzdoc
Keith Gordon is a second-generation black Briton in his late 40s whose previously staid life as a social worker in the Race Equality unit is slowly spiraling downward. His wife divorced him three years earlier, after he confessed to having a brief sexual encounter with a colleague at work. Their teenaged son is getting into more and more trouble in and outside of school, which threatens to derail his plans to attend university, as his parents seem unable to get through to him. He breaks off an affair with a younger woman who works for him, and she distributes their steamy e-mails to everyone in his department. And his father, who came to Britain during the large influx of West Indians in the early 1960s, is in failing health.I found this novel of the experiences of three generations of black British men mildly interesting and well-written, but ultimately disappointing. Keith is an unsympathetic and irritating character, who is self-centered, immature and quite clueless in his relationships with his colleagues, family and his ex-lover. The book ended abruptly and incompletely, as if Phillips himself was fed up with Keith and wanted to be done with him.