The Polished Hoe

The Polished Hoe

A Novel

Book - 2003
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Baker & Taylor
When the highly respected Mary Mathilda of the West Indies's Bimshire island confesses to killing a powerful sugar plantation owner, who she has served for more than thirty years and who is the father of her grown son, she sets off a devastating all-night vigil. 25,000 first printing.

Blackwell North Amer

When Mary-Mathilda, one of the most respected women on the colonized island of Bimshire (also known as Barbados), calls the police to confess to a crime, the result is a shattering all-night vigil. She claims the crime is against Mr. Belfeels, the powerful manager of the sugar plantation that dominates the villagers' lives and for whom she has worked for more than thirty years as a field laborer, kitchen help, and maid. She was also Mr. Belfeels's mistress, kept in good financial status in the Great House of the plantation, and the mother of his only son, Wilberforce, a successful doctor, who after living abroad returns to the island.

Set in the period following World War II, The Polished Hoe unravels over the course of twenty-four hours but spans the lifetime of one woman and the collective experience of a society characterized by slavery. Infused with Joycean overtones, this remarkable novel -- winner of the 2002 Giller Prize, the Commonwealth Writers Prize Best Book Award, Canada and Caribbean region; and a bestseller in Canada -- evokes the power of memory and the indomitable strength of the human spirit.

& Taylor

When Mary Mathilda of the West Indies' Birnshire Island confesses to killing a powerful sugar plantation owner, whom she has served for more than thirty years and who is the father of her grown son, she sets off a devastating all-night vigil.

Publisher: New York : Amistad, 2003
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780060555658
Branch Call Number: F CLA
Characteristics: 462 p. ; 24 cm


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Feb 18, 2018

Got to page 30 and couldn't get into it. Just moved on. I rarely give up on a book so quickly. Tend to agree with Alliez (june 9/09).

Oct 15, 2017

an amazing novel - loved the dialogue, the story-line, the characters, the setting, the perspective.....hope I'm not forgetting anything.
I had this on my to-read list for at least 3 years and am so glad that I finally read it.
horrifying to read about black/brown people being treated as property by members of the white establishment on their island - and the implications of that use and abuse.

Sep 05, 2011

Difficult to put down. Entertaining and enlightening. Wonderfully written. Strong female character. Can't recommend it highly enough.

michellejackson Jul 09, 2010

This was a wonderful story. It sheds light on the condition of slavery as the story reveals the main characters experience of slavery. It gives reader insight into the conditions of slaves in the Island of Barbados. This makes a good read during Black History Month.

Jun 09, 2009

A torturous read if you ask me!


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