By Lori L. Tharps
Updated October 24, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

In Caryl Phillips’ powerful seventh novel, A Distant Shore, the West Indian-born, British-bred author presents a Greek tragedy set in modern England. Solomon is an African immigrant fleeing his unnamed war-torn country. Dorothy is a white retired music teacher fleeing her scandalous past. In alternating narratives, Phillips (Cambridge) unravels the appalling events that bring Solomon and Dorothy to the same anonymous village. Before the two have a chance to seek solace in each other’s company, though, a senseless act of violence shatters both lives. While critiquing Britain’s current racial climate, ”Shore” offers storytelling both raw and heartbreaking.