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Roy Heath Biography

(1926– ), A Man Came Home, The Murderer, From the Heat of the Day, One Generation, Genetha

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

Guyanese novelist, born in British Guiana where he attended Central High School, and worked as a civil servant, before emigrating to England in 1950. Although he was called to the English Bar in 1964 Heath never practised law, but worked as a schoolteacher in London. His first novel, A Man Came Home (1974), is concerned with the day-to-day activities of the urban, middle-class Guyanese who form the subject of most of Health's fiction. In such novels as The Murderer (1978) and the Armstrong trilogy (From the Heat of the Day, 1979; One Generation, 1981; and Genetha, 1981) Heath explores the psychological, financial, and sexual implications of life in a Guyanese landscape where the extended family structure, unaffected social relations, explicit speech and gestures, and frank reliance on the supernatural lend an air of complete authenticity to his writing. In The Shadow Bride (1988) Heath focuses on the Indian community in Guyana. His work is marked by comprehensive social observation, penetrating psychological analysis, and vigorous, picaresque action. Shadows Round the Moon (1990) is a volume of autobiography.

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