Carnival : [a novel] /
Robert Antoni.
1st ed.
New York : Black Cat, c2005.
295 p. ; 21 cm.
0802170056 (pbk.)
More Details
New York : Black Cat, c2005.
0802170056 (pbk.)
catalogue key
A Look Inside
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Commonwealth Writers Prize, GBR, 2006 : Nominated
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2004-11-15:
Struggling with the writer's life in New York City, ashamed of his wealthy West Indian upbringing and confused about his sexual orientation, William Fletcher is the smart, self-pitying narrator of this promising though unfocused novel, Antoni's third (Divina Trace; Blessed Is the Fruit). When William bumps into his old friend Laurence, once a poor island boy, now an Oxford-educated poet and playwright, and then into Rachel, his second cousin and first love, the trio hatch a plan to return to their native Trinidad to celebrate Carnival. For all the debauchery that is Carnival (think Scotch, marijuana, fireworks, jouvert bands), this section of the novel feels curiously bloodless, perhaps because Antoni's style tends toward short fragments ("He sat up, arms folded over chest. Breathing quickly. His chest rising, falling. Staring down at the ground") and weak transitions ("Before I had a chance to think about it..."; "Before I knew it..."; etc.) The final act of the novel shifts to a remote, mountainous region where William and friends intend to sober up from the merrymaking, but instead find themselves involved in a violent incident involving the Earth People (an isolated settlement of rastas) and a racist police force. Antoni's major themes-race (William is white, Laurence black, Rachel French-Creole) and sexuality-are good ones, but they're not sufficiently developed, and the plot feels somewhat manufactured. Agent, Kim Witherspoon. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Library Journal on 2004-10-15:
All various shades of Creole, three friends getting reacquainted in New York vow to return to Trinidad for Carnival. Antoni's Divina Trace won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book. With an eight-city author tour. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews,
Library Journal, October 2004
Publishers Weekly, November 2004
Library Journal, December 2004
Booklist, February 2005
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Unpaid Annotation
The ambitious third novel from one of the most innovative voices to emerge from the Caribbean and the Americas takes readers on an expedition that stretches from contemporary New York City to the glitter of Trinidadian Carnival, going deep into the island's mountainous interior.
Unpaid Annotation
With his novels Divina Trace and Blessed Is the Fruit and his collection My Grandmother's Erotic Folktales, Robert Antoni has established himself as one of the most innovative and vital voices to emerge from the Caribbean and the Americas. His ambitious third novel, Carnival, takes us on an expedition that stretches from contemporary New York City to the glitter of Trinidadian Carnival, and deep into the island's mountainous interior among the unspoiled inhabitants of the mysterious Hell Valley. Narrator William Fletcher is an aspiring novelist and schoolteacher who has come to New York to escape the wealthy, light-skinned world of his birthright, the former West Indian plantocracy. A chance meeting in a Greenwich Village bar reunites William with two of his childhood companions: Laurence, who left the dark-complexioned poverty of his village to become an Oxford scholar and a renowned poet, and the vivacious and stunning Rachel, William's second cousin-from the French-Creole, brown-skinned side of the family-and his first love. Together the three make a liquor-soaked pledge to return "home" to Trinidad for Carnival. The festival starts with passion and pleasure, but as the Carnival ecstasy slides into a fog of ganja, alcohol, and the endless calypso beat, the friends find a darker center of betrayal, cruelty, and violence. Shifting her attentions between William and Laurence, Rachel casts her eyes on seventeen-year-old Eddoes, a member of the isolated, Rastafarian-like Earth People-and the year's improbable Carnival King-as scandalous in his naked innocence as in his brazen, body-skimming costume. Eddoes has run away from Hell Valley and his sequestered life at the farthest reaches of the island for a few days of Carnival excitement. It is to this remote place that the group goes to "cool down" after the festival. In the rain forest William, Rachel, and Laurence hope for a secret paradise, hidden "behind God's back," from which to begin anew. But even here the demons of history, prejudice, and hatred violently intrude, as the novel's startling conclusion forces all to face both the power and the impotence of human resilience and love.
Short Annotation
Robert Antoni has established himself as one of the most innovative voices to emerge from the Caribbean and the Americas.

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