Caryl Phillips - Official Web Site
Other publications

Higher Ground

In Africa, a man recounts his days within the grinding machine of the slave trade. Though spared manacles and a hellish ocean crossing by assisting in the degrading business, he is forced finally to confront an inescapable, vicious paradox: in the eyes of both his masters and his own people he is a pariah—less than a man.

In America, Rudi Williams serves life imprisonment in a Southern jail, brutalized by his guards and isolated from his fellow inmates. Through his letters he writes home to explain himself, and to educate his family in the radical politics of the emerging Black Movement, we come to know a young man whose refusal to bow to the system not only upholds the remnants of his dignity but also seals his fate.

In Europe, where the wounds of war are still open, a woman finds that she cannot, after all, escape the ghetto. For in England, as formerly in Poland, the world outside is hostile, while inside, in her heart, her life is one of stifling fear and dreadful seclusion.

A novel in three parts, bound together with passion and sorrow, Higher Ground forms a haunting triptych of the dispossessed and the abandoned—of those whose very humanity is being stripped away.