When South African–born Peter Abrahams moved to Jamaica in 1956, he thought he had found a racial paradise. Over the next six decades as a Jamaican, his understanding of race in Jamaica was complicated after independence. His last two novels—This Island Now (1966) and The View from Coyaba (1985)—fictionalize the transition to independence in the anglophone Caribbean and how that transition related to the set of concerns unfolding across the rest of the black world. This essay traces Abrahams’s thought on questions of race and decolonization through a close reading of his Caribbean fiction and how he came to theorize the literal and conceptual space of the Caribbean—the island—as a strategy for freedom. In so doing, the author asks, What are the limits of the Caribbean novel of the era of decolonization (1960s–80s) in the anglophone Caribbean? What constitutes it? And how does it articulate liberation?

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