The Question

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McClelland & Stewart, 2004 - Man-woman relationships - 256 pages
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By the Giller Prize-winning author of The Polished Hoe
A finalist for the Governor General’s Award


When a man and a woman meet on a summer day, they begin a conversation that will change both their lives. As their words weave a web of intimacy, the man finds himself drawn into recollections of his childhood on an island in the Caribbean, and to reflections on his life in Toronto. But who is she, this woman he meets at a party? What is behind her dark secrets? What can anyone know about another – really? As their relationship hurtles forward, he gradually finds himself part of a strange triangle of affections, until events escalate, leading to the novel’s dramatic final scenes. The Question is a brilliant, devastating foray into the mysterious and highly charged realm of relationships and colliding cultures.

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About the author (2004)

Austin Clarke was born in Barbados, and came to Canada to attend university in 1955. He has had a varied and distinguished career as a broadcaster, civil-rights leader, diplomat, and professor. He has published ten novels, including the Toronto Trilogy (The Meeting Point, Storm of Fortune, and The Bigger Light), The Origin of Waves, winner of The Rogers Communications Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, The Question, a finalist for the Governor General’s Award, and, most recently, The Polished Hoe, winner of The Giller Prize and the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book. He is also the author of six short-story collections, including When He Was Free and Young and He Used to Wear Silks, When Women Rule, There Are No Elders, and Choosing His Coffin: The Best Stories of Austin Clarke; and three memoirs, Growing Up Stupid Under the Union Jack, winner of the 1980 Casa de las Americas Literary Prize of Cuba, A Passage Back Home, and Pig Tails ’n Breadfruit: Rituals of Slave Food. Austin Clarke: A Biography by Stella Algoo-Baksh was published in 1994 and The Austin Clarke Reader, selected writings, in 1996. He is the recipient of numerous honours, including the 1999 W.O. Mitchell Literary Prize, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award, and the Order of Canada.

Austin Clarke lives in Toronto.

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