This book examines the representation of community in contemporary Anglophone Caribbean short stories, focusing on the most recent wave of Caribbean short story writers following the genre's revival in the mid 1980s. The first extended study of Caribbean short stories, it presents the phenomenon of interconnected stories as a significant feature of late twentieth and early twenty-first century Anglophone Caribbean literary cultures. It contends that the short story collection and cycle, literary forms regarded by genre theorists as necessarily concerned with representations of community, are particularly appropriate and enabling as a vehicle through which to conceptualise Caribbean communities. The book covers short story collections and cycles by Olive Senior, Earl Lovelace, Kwame Dawes, Alecia Mckenzie, Lawrence Scott, Mark Mcwatt, Robert Antoni and Dionne Brand. It argues that the form of interconnected stories is a crucial part of these writers' imagining of communities which may be fractured, plural and fraught with tensions, but which nevertheless hold together. The book takes an interdisciplinary approach to the study of community, bringing literary representations of community into dialogue with models of community developed in the field of Caribbean anthropology. The works analysed are set in Trinidad, Jamaica and Guyana, and in several cases the setting extends to the Caribbean diaspora in Europe and North America. Looking in turn at rural, urban, national and global communities, the book draws attention to changing conceptions of community around the turn of the millennium.
Dr Lucy Evans is Lecturer in Postcolonial Literature in the School of English, University of Leicester.
1: Rural Communities
Olive Senior, Earl Lovelace and the short story form
Village communities in Olive Senior’s Summer Lightning and Other Stories
From country to city in Earl Lovelace’s A Brief Conversion and Other Stories
2: Urban Communities
Writing Kingston in Kwame Dawes’ A Place to Hide and Other Stories and Alecia McKenzie’s Satellite City and Other Stories
3: National Communities
Fugal voices in Lawrence Scott’s Witchbroom
The journey upriver in Mark McWatt’s Suspended Sentences: Fictions of Atonement
4: Global Communities
The diasporic family in Dionne Brand’s At the Full and Change of the Moon
Mobile readerships in Robert Antoni’s My Grandmother’s Erotic Folktales
I: St Jerome in his Study
II: At the Full and Change of the Moon family tree
III: My Grandmother’s Erotic Folktales front cover image
Evans’s analysis shows both tensions and connections between literary and anthropological representations in the examined texts, her discussion of ‘creolization' demonstrates how her selected texts negotiate differences beyond two apparently incompatible positions of either a focus on common values in a unifying society or the play of differences in a plural society.
Melanie A. Murray Journal of Postcolonial Writing
Communities is thoroughly researched and well argued throughout. It benefits from extensive fieldwork and interviews with authors and best serves as a primer for students of Caribbean short fiction, and an introduction to Caribbean interdisciplinary studies.
Janelle Rodriques New West Indian Guide
239 × 163 mm
November 5, 2014
Postcolonialism Across the Disciplines 16