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Trinidad Noir: The Classics

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Classic stories by: C.L.R. James, Derek Walcott, Samuel Selvon, Eric Roach, V.S. Naipaul, Harold Sonny Ladoo, Michael Anthony, Earl Lovelace, Robert Antoni, Elizabeth Nunez, Ismith Khan, Lawrence Scott, Wayne Brown, Jennifer Rahim, Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw, Sharon Millar, Barbara Jenkins, and Shani Mootoo. From the introduction by Earl Lovelace: Where Trinidad is different Classic stories by: C.L.R. James, Derek Walcott, Samuel Selvon, Eric Roach, V.S. Naipaul, Harold Sonny Ladoo, Michael Anthony, Earl Lovelace, Robert Antoni, Elizabeth Nunez, Ismith Khan, Lawrence Scott, Wayne Brown, Jennifer Rahim, Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw, Sharon Millar, Barbara Jenkins, and Shani Mootoo. From the introduction by Earl Lovelace: Where Trinidad is different even from its Caribbean sisters is the degree to which it has developed its folk arts—its carnival, its steel band, its music—as forms of both rebellion and mediation. These forms have not only continued to entertain us; they ritualize rebellion, speak out against oppression, and affirm the personhood of the downpressed. This rebellion is not evident with the same intensity as it used to be. Independence and political partisanship and the growing distance of the middle class from the folk, among other developments, have seen a fluctuation in the ideals of rebellion. Yet what is incontestable is that these arts have established and maintained a safe space for conflict to be resolved or at least expressed, not in a vacuum but in the face of a status quo utilizing its muscle and myths to maintain a narrative that upholds its interests. As the situation becomes more complex and information more crucial, our literature is best placed to challenge or to consolidate these myths. Individually, we are left to decide on whose behalf our writing will be employed. In this situation, the struggle has been within the arts themselves—whether they see themselves as an extension of rebellion or art as entertainment. Although late on the scene and without the widespread appeal of the native and folk arts, our literature can lay claim to being part of these arts of rebellion, upholding and making visible the dismissed and ignored, lifting the marginalized into personhood, persuading us that a new world is required, and establishing this island as a place in which it can be imagined and created.


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Classic stories by: C.L.R. James, Derek Walcott, Samuel Selvon, Eric Roach, V.S. Naipaul, Harold Sonny Ladoo, Michael Anthony, Earl Lovelace, Robert Antoni, Elizabeth Nunez, Ismith Khan, Lawrence Scott, Wayne Brown, Jennifer Rahim, Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw, Sharon Millar, Barbara Jenkins, and Shani Mootoo. From the introduction by Earl Lovelace: Where Trinidad is different Classic stories by: C.L.R. James, Derek Walcott, Samuel Selvon, Eric Roach, V.S. Naipaul, Harold Sonny Ladoo, Michael Anthony, Earl Lovelace, Robert Antoni, Elizabeth Nunez, Ismith Khan, Lawrence Scott, Wayne Brown, Jennifer Rahim, Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw, Sharon Millar, Barbara Jenkins, and Shani Mootoo. From the introduction by Earl Lovelace: Where Trinidad is different even from its Caribbean sisters is the degree to which it has developed its folk arts—its carnival, its steel band, its music—as forms of both rebellion and mediation. These forms have not only continued to entertain us; they ritualize rebellion, speak out against oppression, and affirm the personhood of the downpressed. This rebellion is not evident with the same intensity as it used to be. Independence and political partisanship and the growing distance of the middle class from the folk, among other developments, have seen a fluctuation in the ideals of rebellion. Yet what is incontestable is that these arts have established and maintained a safe space for conflict to be resolved or at least expressed, not in a vacuum but in the face of a status quo utilizing its muscle and myths to maintain a narrative that upholds its interests. As the situation becomes more complex and information more crucial, our literature is best placed to challenge or to consolidate these myths. Individually, we are left to decide on whose behalf our writing will be employed. In this situation, the struggle has been within the arts themselves—whether they see themselves as an extension of rebellion or art as entertainment. Although late on the scene and without the widespread appeal of the native and folk arts, our literature can lay claim to being part of these arts of rebellion, upholding and making visible the dismissed and ignored, lifting the marginalized into personhood, persuading us that a new world is required, and establishing this island as a place in which it can be imagined and created.

30 review for Trinidad Noir: The Classics

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tonstant Weader

    If you follow my reviews for any length of time, you already know I am a fan of the Akashic Noir series. Trinidad Noir: The Classics, their newest release, came out on Monday. Just as in every other Akashic Noir anthology, it will introduce you to a place that you won't find in the travel books. Rougher than any Rough Guide, the Noir series introduces you to the sad places, the bad places, the places where people are often on the downside of power, on the no side of luck, and on the wrong side o If you follow my reviews for any length of time, you already know I am a fan of the Akashic Noir series. Trinidad Noir: The Classics, their newest release, came out on Monday. Just as in every other Akashic Noir anthology, it will introduce you to a place that you won't find in the travel books. Rougher than any Rough Guide, the Noir series introduces you to the sad places, the bad places, the places where people are often on the downside of power, on the no side of luck, and on the wrong side of the tracks. They are stories with heart and soul and struggle. Trinidad Noir: The Classics contains 19 selection in four sections, Leaving Colonialism, Facing Independence, Looking In, and Losing Control. Like other Classics in the Noir series, the editors selected stories going back as far as 1927 to as recently as 2015. They include two poems in addition to the short stories. People looking for more traditional noir mysteries will be disappointed. There's violence, crime, murder, but not the sort of whodunnits that overflow most mystery anthologies. The closest thing to a mystery is The Dragonfly's Tale by Sharon Millar that tells the story of a mother seeking her son who disappeared and the wife of a complicit bureaucrat who betrays her husband to help the mother find his body. Many of the stories involve magic traditions and folk spirits. Both the first and the last story feature supernatural answers to life's challenges. There are stories of colonial bigotry, racism and classism. There's also a lot of humor, sly tales of beggars, tricksters and cons. There's one story, Hindsight, that is little more than an extended scatological joke. This is a varied collection of stories and I enjoyed several of them. Even those that were less satisfying were good stories. Overall, though, the collection feels unbalanced. There's too much of the trickster. Even The Bonnaire Silk Cotton Tree where there is a recitation of the many deaths and disappearance in the violence and the repression of that troubled island, the demon jumbie poses like a fashion model in a more humorous than frightening story even with the promise that all the dead from the first injustice to the wanton violence of today, from the indigenous slaughtered by colonialism, to the slaves, to those whose deaths come from poverty, theft, drugs, and all the other plagues, everyone who has never had justice would manifest for all to see. Theres is this flash of indignation, this demand for justice, but it is only a flash before the trickster is back. Then there is Hindsight, a slight, very short story that seems so much less than this anthology deserves, a self-effacing choice by editor Robert Antoni whose My Grandmother's Erotic Folktales offers several choices. In contrast, Earl Lovelace's story Joebell and America was one of my favorites. There is an incomplete quality to many of the stories. For example, The Party, creates a sense of menace and dread, everything is laid for disaster and tragedy, and is then suspended, the story ends. It sets the mood for a story that is never told. I really want the rest of that story. This was one of the stranger collections in the Akashic Noir series. There's more of the supernatural than usual. There is a lot of unseen, but deeply present, menace, powers that cannot be challenged and a sense that only humor keeps people from despair. With repressive government, murderous abusive police, corrupt businessmen with their private security, foreign investors, and criminal cartels, it seems that for most people, life is lived is in the margins, and they must laugh or die crying. I was provided a promotional e-galley from the publisher through Edelweiss. https://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpre...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne Bhagan

    Although some of the stories included did not seem to fall under the mentioned genre, here are my standout stories: 🌟Town of Tears by Elizabeth Nunez 🌟The Vagrant at the Gate by Wayne Brown 🌟The Party by Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw 🌟The Dragonfly's Tale by Sharon Millar 🌟The Bonnaire Silk Cotton Tree by Shani Mootoo

  3. 5 out of 5

    Janine

    I loved this collection of short stories (and a few poems) about and by Trinidadian authors. They give a great feel for the atmosphere, political and social climate of Trinidad. A great jumping off point to discovering the talented writers of Trinidad.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tiara (bookwormbabee)

    Loved this collection! So many classic Caribbean authors and great stories depicting the different aspects of Trinidadian culture and society. This is an essential on my shelf!

  5. 5 out of 5

    zemoria shaw

    I like the way of this because I am from Trinidad

  6. 4 out of 5

    Grady

    This book took me forever to get through, although the stories in it were generally well-written, and some were quite moving. I think the challenge was that several of them are either written in or have main characters that speak in dialect, and I kept losing the thread. Most memorable stories from the collection include Samuel Selvon, ‘The Cricket Match’ (1957), a humorous story about the perils of telling tall tales; Earl Lovelace, ‘Joebell and America’ (1988), on the title character’s decisio This book took me forever to get through, although the stories in it were generally well-written, and some were quite moving. I think the challenge was that several of them are either written in or have main characters that speak in dialect, and I kept losing the thread. Most memorable stories from the collection include Samuel Selvon, ‘The Cricket Match’ (1957), a humorous story about the perils of telling tall tales; Earl Lovelace, ‘Joebell and America’ (1988), on the title character’s decision to become an American; and Jennifer Rahm, ‘Songster’ (2002) about the death and burial of a young man named Michael, told with a plot that keeps looping in time. I’m grateful to have received an advance reading copy of the book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cal Kielhold

  8. 5 out of 5

    Борис

  9. 5 out of 5

    Melon

    Definitely a mixed bag. Definitely enjoyed it, and really like getting these ARC giveaways because they get me out of my type of novels I normally gravitate to. This collection of short stories by Trinidadian authors are printed chronologically by publication date, over the past century. Some of the stories I thought were pretty darn good; others were ho-hum. One note; I guess a large group of people on the island speak English, but in a very different dialect, so for people who don't like readi Definitely a mixed bag. Definitely enjoyed it, and really like getting these ARC giveaways because they get me out of my type of novels I normally gravitate to. This collection of short stories by Trinidadian authors are printed chronologically by publication date, over the past century. Some of the stories I thought were pretty darn good; others were ho-hum. One note; I guess a large group of people on the island speak English, but in a very different dialect, so for people who don't like reading a lot of dialogue that's not in "proper" English, this will be a rough read. It has a few poems included, but I don't enjoy poetry so I skipped over those completely; I'll edit my review if my wife reads them and lets me know what she thinks. **I received a free copy of this book in exchange for this unbiased review.**

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ted

  11. 4 out of 5

    Camille Alexander

  12. 4 out of 5

    Cbsd library

  13. 5 out of 5

    Stacy Cook

    What can I say about the Akashic Noir series that I haven't said before? Love them! And Trinidad Noir: The Classics was no exception. While I enjoyed the stories in Parts I & II, as usual for me I struggled with the endings that I felt left me hanging or left me to draw my own conclusions. I prefer neat tidy bows at the end of my stories written by the author not left to my own imagination and I felt there was a lot of that in the first part of the book. It's just my personal preference. That bei What can I say about the Akashic Noir series that I haven't said before? Love them! And Trinidad Noir: The Classics was no exception. While I enjoyed the stories in Parts I & II, as usual for me I struggled with the endings that I felt left me hanging or left me to draw my own conclusions. I prefer neat tidy bows at the end of my stories written by the author not left to my own imagination and I felt there was a lot of that in the first part of the book. It's just my personal preference. That being said nearly every story grabbed my attention and kept me engaged. In Part III Uncle Zoltan by Ismith Khan & The Vagrant by Wayne Brown really stood out for their creative storylines. I found my strongest connection with the stories in Part IV. Two of my favorites were The Party by Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw & Ghost Story by Barbara Jenkins. The Party was about a woman who was preparing for her young daughters birthday party amid the chaos of her marriage falling apart in a city filled with crime, drugs and kidnappings. Ghost Story really stood out for me. It was about a vagrant named Ghost who picks fruit from peoples trees without their permission and sells them to others. When the trees get infested with a disease the fruit dies off and he starts stealing from people and as a result gets shot. After recovering from the shooting he finds Jesus and later starts picking fruit to share with the community in a way in which to distribute the fruit evenly amongst the people benefiting everyone.

  14. 4 out of 5

    John Mehaffey

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ju_jane

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Anitzberger

  18. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Readdy

  19. 4 out of 5

    Moved to Library Thing adaorhell

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ann Theis

    PW

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kristy Agostini

  22. 5 out of 5

    Gail Nyoka

    I enjoy the cadence and the sound of the English language in the mouths of the people of Trinidad and Tobago, so it was a pleasure to see it reproduced in so many of the stories in this collection. The 'classics' refers to the most well-known of Trinidad's authors: VS Naipaul, Samuel Selvon, going as far back as a 1927 story by CLR James. The chronological sequence of the stories presents a picture of the changing people and society over the almost ninety years covered by the stories. In the old I enjoy the cadence and the sound of the English language in the mouths of the people of Trinidad and Tobago, so it was a pleasure to see it reproduced in so many of the stories in this collection. The 'classics' refers to the most well-known of Trinidad's authors: VS Naipaul, Samuel Selvon, going as far back as a 1927 story by CLR James. The chronological sequence of the stories presents a picture of the changing people and society over the almost ninety years covered by the stories. In the older stories, male authors predominate, but women are well represented in the newer stories. The story of Trinidad must include the story of emigration, and one of my favorites is the 1957 story, The Cricket Match. Here, Samuel Selvon captures, with humor, Trinidadians in the London of the 1950s. This is the only explicit 'away' story, but others touch on characters with relatives who live elsewhere, or are trying to move away. However, most of all, the stories are of the people who live in that two-island nation.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tash Nikol

  24. 5 out of 5

    Doris Hambuch

  25. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    TRINIDAD NOIR: THE CLASSICS is edited by Earl Lovelace and Robert Antoni. It is a collection of reprints of classic stories and poems from celebrated Caribbean authors. The editors are also the authors of two of the stories in this title. Publishing dates range from 1927 to 2015. While the stories “are not all focused on crime (a common element of the noir genre), they direct attention to the violence of a society that has not quite settled accounts with the casualties of enslavement and indenture TRINIDAD NOIR: THE CLASSICS is edited by Earl Lovelace and Robert Antoni. It is a collection of reprints of classic stories and poems from celebrated Caribbean authors. The editors are also the authors of two of the stories in this title. Publishing dates range from 1927 to 2015. While the stories “are not all focused on crime (a common element of the noir genre), they direct attention to the violence of a society that has not quite settled accounts with the casualties of enslavement and indentureship.” The book contains a Table of Contents; an outline map of Trinidad Tobago showing where the various stories take place (I like this map); an Introduction; About the Contributors (very interesting profiles) and Permissions. There are 19 stories (and poems) divided into four parts: Part I - Leaving Colonialism; Part II - Facing Independence; Part III - Looking In; Part IV - Losing Control. I quite liked the story LA DIVINA PASTORA by C.L.R. James, taking place in North Trace; originally published in 1927. This story was very eerie. I read and reread the poem THE SCHOONER FLIGHT by Derek Walcott, taking place in the area of Blanchisseuse; originally published in 1979. “I try to forget what happiness was, and when that don’t work, I study the stars.” THE PARTY by Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw, taking place in the Santa Cruz Valley, first published in 2007. The story was one of desperation, sadness and terrible violence (boiling under the surface). From the ashes falling on the birthday cake to the seething bitterness of Alice to the rented pit bulls patrolling the yard - it was terribly depressing and scary. Another story I liked (I really did like them all) was THE BONNAIRE SILK COTTON TREE by Shani Mootoo, originally published in 2015, taking place in Foothills, Northern Range. I was familiar with the author, Shani Mootoo, having just finished her book MOVING FORWARD SLOWLY LIKE A CRAB. I like her style and with characters like the attention-seeking priest, Father O’Leary, desperate for independence and acceptance, Nandita Sharma, and the sinister ‘jumbie’ - something disastrous is bound to happen. I like the stories being in sequence according to publication. The reader can see a progression of sorts in the culture and character (and despair) of the emerging country. Some of the stories were written in a regional patois which made it slow-going at times. But it added realism and character to the characters, the locale and the story line. I like this noir series from Akashic Books very much. I thank Akashic Books for sending me this book in exchange for an unbiased and honest review. The title is part of Library Thing’s Early Review program.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kyle May

  27. 4 out of 5

    Edward

  28. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  29. 5 out of 5

    Viola

  30. 4 out of 5

    Madeline W

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