cover image Trinidad Noir: The Classics

Trinidad Noir: The Classics

Edited by Earl Lovelace and Robert Antoni. Akashic, $15.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-61775-435-7

To travel through the 19 works of poetry and prose in this remarkable anthology is to experience Trinidad and Tobago through a kaleidoscopic lens. The writings are grouped into four historically significant periods (“Leaving Colonialism,” “Facing Independence,” “Looking In,” and “Losing Control”). It’s an effective construct; the reader experiences island culture and history as a part of its time, formed by a pastiche of nationality, culture, and social class. Standouts abound. The central character in V.S. Naipul’s “Man-man” is a reputedly mad man in a community whose reactions to him move between bemused and violent. Harold Sonny Ladoo tells, in “The Quiet Peasant,” of an impoverished farmer who unwittingly digs his own grave. An island lilt and sharp humor spice Robert Antoni’s “Hindsight,” about a doctor confronting a singular medical condition. This is not a noir collection in the traditional crime-based sense. Instead, as noted in the introduction, the selections “direct attention to the violence of a society that has not quite settled accounts with the casualties of enslavement and indentureship.” [em](May) [/em]