Phillips is a wondrous spelunker. His characters are clad in a soft lint of sad soot they cannot shed. Solomon, an African immigrant, and Dorothy, a middle-class piano teacher, live in a housing estate outside London.
Their intersection allows the St. Kitts-born Phillips to chronicle two descents. The British suburbs would seem a promised land after Solomon’s African toils. Bigotry ends that promise. Solomon’s fall accelerates Dorothy’s sympathetic collapse. A somber tale, yes, but Solomon and Dorothy are memorably resonant.