A visit to London a couple of years ago, and the sight of the vast Westfield shopping centre obliterating bits of Shepherd's Bush that he knew well, made him want to reconnect with the country that remains at the centre of his imagination. "I wanted to re-engage with a London that I felt I was drifting away from," he says.
The result is a portrait of three generations of Britons - his parents', his own, and that of the children he never had; a book at once intimate and broad; small lives on a big canvas. "I could see an older generation who had grown up with one conception of what Britain was. That generation's - both black and white - conception of Britain is very different from my generation's conception of Britain, and in turn the new generation of kids have an entirely different conception of Britain and a different conception of self as a result. It was an interesting moment to be able to see three different ideas of Britain trying to grapple with each other and occupy the same space."
Friday, May 22, 2009
In The Guardian, Stephen Moss talks to Caryl Phillips about his new novel, In the Falling Snow.