The Housing Lark

The Housing Lark

Penguin Modern Classics


Brought to you by Penguin.

Sitting in his cramped basement room in Brixton, Battersby dreams of money, women, a T-bone steak - and a place to call his own. So he and a group of friends decide to save up and buy a house together. But amid grasping landlords, the temptations of spending money and the less-than-welcoming attitude of the Mother Country, can this motley group of hustlers and schemers, Trinidadians and Jamaicans, men and women make their dreams a reality?

'Irreverent, spirited ... a seriously funny novel' New York Review of Books

'Selvon's meticulously observed narratives of displaced Londoners' lives created a template for how to write about migrant, and postmigrant, London for countless writers who have followed in his wake, including Hanif Kureishi and Zadie Smith' Caryl Phillips

© Sam Selvon 1965 (P) Penguin Audio 2021


  • A unique and wonderful novel, comic and serious, cynical and tender-hearted ... With its surprisingly happy ending and irreverent, spirited wit, The Housing Lark goes against the grain of much postcolonial literature ... Funny, serious, innovative, multilingual, musical, The Housing Lark shows how literary expression can create community across race, gender, place, and time
    Dohra Ahmad

About the author

Sam Selvon

Sam Selvon was born in San Fernando (Trinidad) in 1923 and worked in his homeland as a wireless operator and reporter. In 1950 he left Trinidad for the UK, where he established himself as a writer with A Brighter Sun (1952). Many other books followed, including his best-known novel, The Lonely Londoners (1956), and its two sequels, Moses Ascending (1975) and Moses Migrating (1983). He moved to Canada in the late 1970s and died in 1994.
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