A Black Englishman A Novel

Carolyn Slaughter




Trade Paperback

352 Pages



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India, 1920: exotic, glamorous, and painfully wrenching away from England's colonial grip, only to be thrown into violence and terrorism. Isabel, a young Englishwoman in search of herself and in flight from the ravages of the Great War, is thrust headlong into a passionate and dangerous liaison with Sam, an Indian doctor and a graduate of Oxford University who insists, against all odds, on the right to be both black and British. Their devotion to each other takes them across the length and breadth of India. It also takes them to the brink of disaster as Isabel's army husband, stalking her as she pursues medical training in Delhi, plans a horrific revenge for her infidelity, and Sam is captured as a suspected terrorist as the revolt against British rule plunges the country into chaos.

This love story combines the themes of colonial exploitation, political and ethnic tensions, race and sexuality, and the many forms of partition, secular and religious, that still endanger our world.


Praise for A Black Englishman

"Twenty-three-year-old narrator Isabel Webb is a spunky Englishwoman [having a] dangerous love affair in a novel [wherein] much is possible."—Lorraine Adams, The Washington Post

"A fanciful embroidering of the life of [the author's] grandmother, [reinvented as Isabel,] . . . whose very body becomes a battleground for the dueling forces of imperial rule and native independence."—Elle

"The author has created a deeply moving take of love, hate, and revenge, with a clear depiction of social class and the political environment prevailing during the British rule of India. The book brings to light the hardships faced by women of all ethnicities during the period and creates a window of understanding on the tiered class system of the English population . . . Another noteworthy aspect of this novel is the author's acute sense of observation and the ability to describe her characters, places in Indian, and situations with perceptive clarity. Slaughter is a gifted writer, and her novel, a delightful read."—MultiCultural Review

"[A Black Englishman] is a return to the Raj novel of the 1960s and '70s which dealt with the decline and passing of the British Empire, a genre which was taken to great heights by J. G. Farrell and Paul Scott. But while these writers gave us a dense, multi-hued, sometimes claustrophobic, picture of the empire, Slaughter is more interested in the human story, which she tells with passion and fervour . . . Much of what Carolyn Slaughter writes about in India has changed little in the past 100 years . . . Raj or no Raj, time stands still in India."—Chitralekha Basu, The Times Literary Supplement

"Carolyn Slaughter seizes on the complex historical and cultural ambiguities of the dying days of the Raj, lacing them into a richly detailed, passionately felt story that explores the crossing of moral, racial, and social boundaries . . . This is a fine novel in which character and situation are perfectly balanced against a dramatic and perennially fascinating historical watershed."—Elizabeth Buchan, Daily Mail

"Slaughter tells a beautiful, haunting love story, set against a simmering backdrop of religious violence and political turmoil. Her novel is filled with trenchant observations about class, sex, imperialism, and especially race . . . This is a moving and powerful tale."Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Carolyn Slaughter

  • Carolyn Slaughter was born in New Delhi, India, and spent most of her childhood in the Kalahari Desert. She is the author of eight other novels and the memoir Before the Knife. She now lives in the United States.