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, 17 May 2008

No proud native son

If the measure of a writer’s success is the ire he provokes, then V.S. Naipaul is a spectacular success in Trinidad.... “History is built around achievement and creation; and nothing was created in the West Indies,” Naipaul wrote in “The Middle Passage” (1962) -- the first sign that he wasn’t going to play the proud native son. A fresher wound came in 2001, when Naipaul omitted any mention of Trinidad from his initial press release after winning the Nobel Prize, which many here saw as a deliberate rebuff.

This weekend's New York Times Book Review includes an article by David Shaftel on Naipaul's often fraught relationship with the island of his birth--from his portrayal of Trinidad in his early books to the controversial events of his visit in 2007. In his piece Shaftel quotes no fewer than three people connected with the CRB: our frequent contributor Georgia Popplewell, the magazine's editor Jeremy Taylor, and (though Shaftel doesn't name him) our contributing editor Brendan de Caires, who reviewed Naipaul's latest book, A Writer's People, in our February 2008 issue.

Friday, 16 May 2008

R.I.P. Roy A.K. Heath (1926-2008)

The Stabroek News reports today that the Guyanese novelist Roy A.K. Heath--author of The Murderer, The Shadow Bride, and eight other novels--has died in London. The Guyana Arts Forum, in a press release, says: "As a novelist, Heath represented a liberal imagination in his reinterpretations of the experiences of the diverse strands of humanity he found in the society."

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Could it be Derek!

Browsing through the current issue of the London Review of Books, I come across the following, in a review by Tony Wood of Today I Wrote Nothing: The Selected Writings of Daniil Kharms:

Perhaps the most brilliant piece in ‘Sluchai’ is the pseudo-play ‘Pushkin and Gogol’. Gogol falls onto the stage from behind the curtain and lies still; Pushkin enters, trips over Gogol and falls, crying: ‘What the devil! Could it be Gogol!’ Now Gogol gets up, walks and immediately trips over Pushkin, who gets up again, only to trip over Gogol. And so on until the two exit the stage, each still exclaiming his annoyance at tripping over the other.

I find myself giggling at the thought of an adaptation of this playlet featuring not Pushkin and Gogol but our own Naipaul and Walcott....

Dinner with Vidia

In the Indian Economic Times, Vikram Doctor leafs through V.S. Naipaul's books looking for references to meals, concluding that Naipaul is no foodie--"in Naipaul’s novels if food is consumed with enjoyment it usually has disastrous consequences"--but "as a writer who builds on carefully noted details, he uses observation of food--its preparation, rituals, consumption--to convey larger points." (Doctor also reveals that Naipaul's sister Savi makes a mean dosti roti.)