growing up

"Both a wry and perceptive critique of the colonial system and a sharply observed account of childhood."
—New Internationalist

Growing Up Stupid Under The Union Jack

Austin Clarke

“A new edition of Growing Up Stupid Under the Union Jack is certainly an occasion for rejoicing. Austin Clarke’s sharpness of observation and his gift for rendering the music of peasant speech are a constant delight.”—George Lamming

Austin Clarke’s memoir of adolescence in 1940s Barbados has become a Caribbean classic since first appearing in 1980. Telling of a traditional Public School-style education in the colony nicknamed “Little England”, it takes a wry and sometimes comical look at an establishment where Barbadian boys pray for the Royal Family and learn Latin verbs. A mix of patriotism and floggings, Combermere School is a strict training ground for “Little Englanders”.In contrast stands the village where the young Austin Clarke, a scholarship boy from a poor family, lives. Full of vigour and spontaneity, village life is worlds apart from the archaic exercises of the classroom. Describing personalities and events, festivities and traditions, Clarke creates an affectionate picture of Caribbean rural society, dominated by the church and the rum shop. Wartime Barbados was even more patriotic than usual, and Clarke’s account of hardships, rationing and military service captures the mood of a special period. Part phoney war in which a German invasion was anticipated and part real conflict, in which many Barbadians lost their lives overseas, World War II features prominently in this memoir.Verbally inventive and full of the cadences of Caribbean speech, Growing Up Stupid Under the Union Jack is a humorous exposé of imperial pretensions. But it also has a more serious side, as it reveals the psychological and cultural damage done by the colonial system.AUSTIN CLARKE was born and educated in Barbados before emigrating to Barbados in 1955. Since then he has worked as a journalist, lecturer and diplomat as well as producing many novels, short stories and essays.

AUSTIN CLARKE was born and educated in Barbados before emigrating to Barbados in 1955. Since then he has worked as a journalist, lecturer and diplomat as well as producing many novels, short stories and essays.

£9.99 paperback

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2003
192 pages, 203x128mm
ISBN: 9781902669703