George Lamming (1927–2022) was the last West Indian. I mean by this not only that he was the last genuine regionalist, the last intellectual and artist for whom the British colonies of the Caribbean could only be viably thought together as a single cultural-political whole, but also that he was the last great thinker of the idea of West Indian sovereignty. Lamming is often remembered primarily for his first novel, In the Castle of My Skin, that singular bildungsroman of Black and Caribbean awakening, published in 1953. And in terms of the semi-autobiographical narrative fiction of the modern Caribbean racial self in the process of coming of age—the story of G—this is completely understandable. But to my mind, Lamming’s finest literary achievement is to have helped us explore the challenges of decolonization and the coming national sovereignty. And in this respect, the great novels are Of Age and Innocence...

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