Conflicting Notions of Entangled Lives: Questions on Spatial Identity in Transcultural Borderlands

Aysha Swapna K. A


Born in the West Indies, raised in England, and now a veteran of American University teaching, Caryl Phillips started out in the mid-1980s as a second-generation chronicler of West Indian emigrant experience. The novel ‘In the Falling Snow’ is about Keith Gordon, a social worker in his late 40s, a British-born son of black West Indian immigrants, who was mostly raised by his white, working-class stepmother, Brenda, in a Leeds-like northern city. Within the problems of prejudice and racism lies the question of identity. The bigotry experienced by Keith has connection to his age, ethnicity, gender, identity, race, region and it is against this backdrop that the conditions of ethnic segregation deepen and intensifies. The paper also analyses if in London people from different backgrounds find it easier to integrate when ethnically mixed workplaces, schools and neighbourhoods are the rule, not the exception. The paper analyses themes that are coloured by postmodern traits of fragmentation and rootlessness, focusing on the themes of alienation, multiculturalism, belonging and the immigrant experience.


Alienation; Multiethnicity; Segregation

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