Dear readers:
For our sixth anniversary in May 2010, The Caribbean Review of Books has launched a new website at www.caribbeanreviewofbooks.com. Antilles has now moved to www.caribbeanreviewofbooks.com/antilles — please update your bookmarks and RSS feed. If you link to Antilles from your own blog or website, please update that too!

Saturday, 15 March 2008

The Old Guys

Much attention to the older generation of Caribbean writers in the British weekend press. In the Sunday Observer, Robert McCrum has a long feature on V.S.Naipaul. It doesn't add much light, or even heat, to the subject, but it does (as always) indicate that something is about to happen. That "something" is the publication in a couple of weeks of Patrick French's "authorised" biography of Naipaul, The World is What it Is (the opening sentence of A Bend in the River), followed shortly by a BBC4 television documentary on April 10, The Strange Luck of V.S. Naipaul. VS blithely tells his interviewer that he won't be reading the biography, and that maybe it's time to settle down a bit, "call it a day" — but apparently he's shortly off to Uganda to "research his next book", and then on to the Congo.

In the Sunday Times, Naipaul's first editor at Andre Deutsch, Diana Athill, recalls her long professional relationship with him — this took a whole fascinating chapter in her memoir Stet — and the phases she used to follow him through, from silence to excitement to disillusion and despair. She also recalls the agony she suffered when she had to tell him she couldn't stand Guerrillas (which still seems to me to be Naipaul's worst book).

In the Saturday Guardian Review, meanwhile, Hari Kunzru conjures up the Notting Hill once haunted by Sam Selvon's "lonely Londoners", and prowls through the follow-up novels about the legendary Moses. This seems to have been triggered by the reissue of Moses Ascending as a Penguin Modern Classic, due for reissue on March 27.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

NBCC awards for Caribbean-American writers

Editor Nicholas Laughlin is on his travels again, but once he gets back I'm sure he will have something to say about two of the National Book Critics' Circle awards announced last week.

Junot Diaz, who was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to New York with his family as a child, won the fiction award for his debut novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

And Edwidge Danticat, who was born next door in Haiti and followed a similar migrant's path to the US, won the autobiography prize for her memoir Brother, I'm Dying.

Both books were on the CRB's list of the best books of 2007 announced in January.