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The Orchid House

246 pages4 hours


Three white sisters return to their Caribbean island home to find their family living in poverty and mental anguish. Each sister responds to the family's plight in different ways - seeking change through romance or politics or money. Intensely autobiographical, The Orchid House describes a colonial society in decay as seen through the (usually) loyal eyes of the sisters' childhood nurse, Lally: "Beauty and disease, beauty and sickness, beauty and horror: that was the island." First published in 1953, it was filmed by Channel 4 in 1991 for a four-part series with Diana Quick, Frances Barber and Elizabeth Hurley. This edition has a new and incisive introduction by the Dominican scholar Schuyler Esprit, which casts a fresh and contemporary eye on Allfrey's life and work.

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