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John Hearne Biography

(1926–95), Voices Under the Window, Stranger at the Gate, The Faces of Love, The Autumn Equinox

Jamaican novelist, born in Montreal, Canada, but brought up in Jamaica; educated at Jamaica College and the University of Edinburgh. He has been a teacher and journalist, and a researcher working for Prime Minister Michael Manley of Jamaica. Conservative in outlook, his novels are notable for their depiction of the Jamaican professional classes, and antagonisms based on racial and class difference. His first novel, Voices Under the Window (1955), is narrated entirely in flashback, and focuses on a young lawyer at the point of death reflecting on his ultimately lethal involvement in Jamaican politics and his racial origins. Stranger at the Gate (1956), The Faces of Love (1957), The Autumn Equinox (1959), and The Land of the Living (1961), set in an imaginary exotic ‘Cayuna’, concentrate on the personal dilemmas of romantic love and middle-class alienation, though underlying political factors persist. More symbolic and allegorical, The Sure Salvation (1981), set in a slave ship, is marked by pessimism about both politics and personal relationships.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: William Hart-Smith Biography to Sir John [Frederick William] Herschel Biography