The Black Man

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Dressed in an elegant silvery-grey suit when he first meets Karl Glogauer in the Derry and Toms Roof Gardens, the Black Man (whose name is never provided) presents himself as a Nigerian on a business trip to London, explaining that he is “trying to get your government to pay a better price for our copper” (p. 15 - Breakfast In The Ruins, 1971, Random House (1st ed. US)). He tells Karl that he is an amateur photographer, and uses his amateur’s pursuit to initiate a dialogue with Karl by taking the photographs of the Englishman under the pretext of being a tourist wishing to record images of the people of the city.

The reader is provided with next to no information concerning The Black Man’s personal identity or social background, and what information is described appears unreliable, which could, of course, be expected from someone seeking a one night stand. Apparently a bisexual, he introduces Karl to homosexual sex and the concept of “transincarnation” on the day of their first meeting. With regard to his politics, he mentions that he is opposed to abortion because he is “against the destruction of possibilities. Everything should be allowed to proliferate. The interest lies in seeing which becomes dominant” (p. 93 - Breakfast In The Ruins, 1971, Random House (1st ed. US)).

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