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Race and loneliness

Caryl Phillips's new novel is about race in early 20th-century American music-halls. But the subject that has always interested him most is loneliness

By Jonathan Heawood   September 2005

Dancing in the Dark by Caryl Phillips (Secker & Warburg, £12.99)

If Caryl Phillips believes that the racial dynamics described in his new novel, Dancing in the Dark, have been superseded by a brave new world of integration, he should watch some music television. The new black is still the old black in the world of popular American entertainment. MTV is currently showing a series called Wanna Come In?, in which ultra-cool rap stars talk geeky white boys through seducing beautiful women. The black Cyranos struggle to inject some sexual magnetism into their stammering protégés, but are left in despair…

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