Earl Lovelace: A Reading from Is Just a Movie
Part of the The 31st Annual Meeting of the West Indian Literature Conference. Hosted by Caribbean Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Miami
Saturday, October 13, 2012 - 8:00pm
IN TRINIDAD, the 1970 Black Power rebellion has ended, and its leaders rounded up. Sonnyboy, desperate to be recognized as a revolutionary, forces the disinterested police to arrest him. King Kala, a singer, returns from detention and is sidelined in the calypso tent, his music dated and unfashionable. And so we follow them and the people of Cascadu through their experiments in music, politics, religion, and love. In their day-to-day adventures—be it a game of cricket, the short life of a corner shop, or a miracle at a funeral—they begin to see more clearly what their community has to offer for its liberation. Humorous and serious, sad and uplifting, Is Just a Movie is a radiant novel about small moments of magic in ordinary life.
EARL LOVELACE was born in Toco, Trinidad, and has lived most of his life on the islands of Trinidad and Tobago. His books include While Gods Are Falling, winner of the BP Independence Award, the Caribbean classic The Dragon Can't Dance, and Salt, which won the 1997 Commonwealth Writers Prize. For Is Just a Movie, he has won the Grand Prize for Caribbean Literature by the Regional Council of Guadeloupe.
Praise for Is Just a Movie:
"Maker, destroyer, recorder, revealer: that is Earl Lovelace and here he is at his soaring rhapsodic best. Starring two hapless almost-been's in search of movie fame, Is Just A Movie takes us on wild loving absurdist journey to the heart of a contemporary Trinidad, a Trinidad so ravishingly alive that the Naipuls of the world could never have imagined it or possessed the soul to write about it."
—Junot Díaz, author, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
“Is Just a Movie is not just a movie, it’s a poem, too.”
—Arundhati Roy, author, The God of Small Things
“Written in a vigorous, patois-inflected prose, Is Just a Movie celebrates the lives of characters caught up in the ferment of 1970. The narrative scissors backwards and forwards in time, yet it memorably documents a period of “dreams and vitality” in Trinidad’s history, when Black Power was briefly in the ascendancy and, in the space of just one year, the island went through an accelerated cycle of political temptation and folly. Is Just a Movie confirms Lovelace as a master storyteller of the West Indies.”
"Lovelace is bursting with things to say about this complex, heterogeneous society in the late 20th century. This he does with a flair that at its best reaches a soaring rhapsody."
"Earl Lovelace writes like a man who has just discovered language and is amazed. Each word is a revelation"
“Heartfelt, hugely enjoyable…. Witty, sardonic, impassioned … transcendent, this is a sweet-natured but consistently incisive look at small-town life in transition.”
—Time Out London
“Vivid prose that seems to stroll effortlessly across the page. Lovelace’s writing is meticulously crafted but it retains its casual elegance.”
—Times Literary Supplement
"Lovelace has written an comic masterpiece. The dazzle of talent on display in this his latest novel is in its own way absurd. Yes, some writers do have it all."
—Colin Channer, author, Waiting in Vain
"The publication of a new novel by Earl Lovelace is an event to celebrate. This satire, while biting, is tempered with a pathos and humor which directs us to the fundamental humanity we have come to recognize in all of Lovelace's writing."
—Lawrence Scott, author, Night Calypso
"More than any other writer, the prose of Earl Lovelace is 'Trini to the bone.' And like the famed Cascadu river fish after which the village in Is Just a Movie is named, once its sweet flesh is tasted, the reader is destined to return to its shores."
—Robert Antoni, author of Divina Trace and Carnival