A Brief Conversion and Other Stories

Overview

In thirteen vivid stories, award-winning author Earl Lovelace paints a compassionate, often humorous portrait of everyday life in Trinidad. Ordinary people like Victor the barber, Shoemaker Arnold, Miss Ross (once the most sought-after woman in Cunaripo), and Blues and Joebell (both eager to see new lands) are invested with the magic of their colorful, changing world. Written with Lovelace's characteristic ear for melody and rhythm, A Brief Conversion and Other Stories is an invaluable contribution to ...
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Overview

In thirteen vivid stories, award-winning author Earl Lovelace paints a compassionate, often humorous portrait of everyday life in Trinidad. Ordinary people like Victor the barber, Shoemaker Arnold, Miss Ross (once the most sought-after woman in Cunaripo), and Blues and Joebell (both eager to see new lands) are invested with the magic of their colorful, changing world. Written with Lovelace's characteristic ear for melody and rhythm, A Brief Conversion and Other Stories is an invaluable contribution to contemporary world literature.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Set in Trinidad, these stories deal with the dreams of the common people, like going to America, or winning the lottery, or getting married; younger characters in particular want to grow up to make something special of their lives. The characters' varied speech pulls the reader into their lives in a close, personal way, and their stories are told with compassion, wit, and lyricism. The result is a delightful collection by a consummate storyteller who is Trinidad's best contemporary writer, winner of the 1997 Commonwealth Writers Prize for his acclaimed novel, Salt. Highly recommended for all readers who would like a taste of life in Trinidad.-Lisa Rohrbaugh, East Palestine Memorial P.L., OH Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Lovelace (The Dragon Can’t Dance, 1998, etc.) describes with wry sympathy people in his native Trinidad who dream big, often fail, but live to the full. Thirteen stories introduce characters who often appear more than once as they try either to avoid or embrace changes in their lives. In the title piece, a tale of family love, narrator Travey recalls how his hair was cut short every third Sunday at his mother Pearl’s insistence by an itinerant barber, and how that embarrassing haircut was responsible for his own rite of passage, when the shy scholarly boy successfully fought a school bully who teased Travey about his hair. "The Fire Eater’s Journey," "The Coward," and "The Fire Eater’s Return" chart the bumpy course of Blues, a villager with little schooling and no trade skills but a tender heart, who dreams of taking his fire-eating and strongman show to England. Blues watches a black power rally and, affected by their talk of injustice, is tempted to join, but doesn’t; he tells a journalist friend that he’s frightened he might kill somebody. In the third story, the same journalist recounts lending Blues the money he said he needed to save his life, but the loan was not enough to prevent his gruesome end. In other notable tales: a middle-aged woman realizes how much she has sacrificed by serving the local community ("Call Me ‘Miss Ross’ for Now"); a man who sees "too much hell in Trinidad" tries and fails to immigrate to the US, but does so with class ("Joebell and America"); and a fearful woman’s husband realizes it’s better for his peace of mind to replace the bicycle pumps that thieves keep stealing than to succumb to fear like hers ("George and the Bicycle Pump"). Quiet stories,filled with the vivid sounds and sights of village life, that resonate with empathy and perception.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780892552719
  • Publisher: Persea Books
  • Publication date: 8/15/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

A Brief Conversion 1
The Fire Eater's Journey 32
The Coward 45
The Fire Eater's Return 50
Call Me 'Miss Ross' For Now 59
Those Heavy Cakes 81
George and the Bicycle Pump 86
Fleurs 96
The Midnight Robber 104
Joebell and America 111
Shoemaker Arnold 125
Victoria and the Blight 133
The Gambler's Funeral 142
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