February 6, 2017
Strangers in Another Country by Lawrence G. Taylor
Strangers in Another Country is a set of four tales, two short stories and two novellas, written by Lawrence G. Taylor featuring Guyanese men in their quest for ‘a better life’ in England and Sweden.
The first story, A Day in The Life of Mr. Charlie Cheddar is about a lonely, bitter and unsociable low ranking clerk in one of North London Post Offices who came from a tiny Caribbean country seven years ago. After several years of depriving himself of the company of others, Mr. Cheddar agrees to be introduced to Helen by his newly acquired friend, Julian.
The second story, Betty and the Black Puppy, is about Betty Macintosh from Scotland who lives together with David Jones from British Guiana. Without consulting David first, Betty brings home a lost puppy. As soon as she gets home, Betty feels apprehensive about David’s reaction regarding her ‘good deed.’ Little does she know that that seemingly petty gesture will shed some light in their romantic relationship.
The third tale is a novella. Binky’s Reverie is about a young Guyanese man, who, in hopes of having a relationship with the smart and beautiful young woman from Sweden whom he met in London, makes the trip from England. Filled with romantic notion, Binky alights from the train hopeful and excited.
The final tale, another novella, Strangers in Another Country, features Moby, a Guyanese working as a hospital porter in Stockholm who meets an Afro-American from Brooklyn. They spend several hours talking over cups of coffee and then go out to meet other ‘brothers’ in a former jazz club.
This is a well-written, very entertaining and highly amusing book about expatriates living in a country culturally different from their own, their ways of life, their hopes, their dreams, their pains and disappointments. The best part of the book is the characterization. All the characters are well-developed and given ample back stories making them very relatable with their flaws and weaknesses. I find the stories humorous and very realistic. Each plot, though seemingly ordinary, is quite engaging in that it can happen to anyone we personally know.