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Trinidad Noir: The Classics

Edited by: and

Two of Trinidad’s top literary writers masterfully curate this retrospective of the nation’s best writing over the past century.

$15.95 $11.96

What people are saying…

“Pairing nicely with 2008’s Trinidad Noir, this retrospective collection features classic stories from writers who were part of the literary wave that crested with Trinidadian independence in 1962. Notable authors include Derek Walcott, V.S. Naipaul, Elizabeth Nunez, Shani Mootoo, and the volume’s editors. Holds strong appeal for fans of noir and literary writing.”
Library Journal

“Lovelace and Antoni offer a ‘subversive’ take on island culture to complement the 21st-century look at Trinidad offered by Lisa Allen-Agostini and Jeanne Mason’s Trinidad Noir . . . Whether history repeats itself or progress is stalled by people’s infinite capacity to get in their own ways, these 19 reprinted tales offer a bittersweet perspective on the cussedness of human nature.”
Kirkus Reviews

“To travel through the 19 works of poetry and prose in this remarkable anthology is to experience Trinidad and Tobago through a kaleidoscopic lens. The writings are grouped into four historically significant periods (‘Leaving Colonialism,’ ‘Facing Independence,’ ‘Looking In,’ and ‘Losing Control’). It’s an effective construct; the reader experiences island culture and history as a part of its time, formed by a pastiche of nationality, culture, and social class. Standouts abound.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review, Pick of the Week

Trinidad Noir: The Classics asks readers to reconsider the postcolonial condition in the fifty-five years after independence.”
SX Salon

“Each story is magnetic.”
New York Journal of Books

“The first installment of Trinidad Noir (2008) revealed a dark, incessant heart beating beneath the public and private carapaces of contemporary T&T. This second offering delivers nineteen stories from a cadre of writers, the majority of whom emerged as established voices in the republic’s march towards Independence . . . These stories sing of a fractured, fascinating land.”
Caribbean Beat Magazine

“There is enough cynicism, fatalism, and ambiguity in most of these stories to satisfy the most dedicated of noir aficionados; if some of them lack hard-boiled cynical characters, they make up for it in bleak settings, and vice versa. Most if not all of the stories deal either directly or indirectly with the legacies of slavery, indenture, and colonialism.”
The Caribbean Writer

“A dazzling sample of the talent that makes Trinidad and Tobago so unique . . . The book is a display of wide-ranging styles and great talents, giving a sense of the remarkable diversity of such a small island.”
Pif Magazine

“Every story speaks to you . . . Trinidad Noir is an inimitable work of art, a classical expose of the island’s literary giants. For all its color it never falls short on its singular statement that the Caribbean people remain a distinctively creative force, a force that has ensured their survival.”
Kaieteur News (Guyana)

“An expansive retrospect of some of the best literature to emerge from Trinidad in the last century . . . Perhaps most importantly, this collection lays a solid foundation that establishes a glimmering hope for Trinidad’s literary future. With all its stunning history, variation, synchronicity and vibrant focus on humanity, Trinidad Noir: The Classics makes it clear that Trinidadian literature must be more globally examined and elevated.”
Black Book Quotes

“There can be little doubt . . . that this represents a good range of literary snapshots of Trinidad, giving clues to its distinct character.”
Crime Review (UK)


Akashic Books continues its award-winning series of original noir anthologies, launched in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir. Each book comprises all new stories, each one set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the geographic area of the book. Now, two of Trinidad’s top writers masterfully curate this literary retrospective of the nation’s best writing over the past century.

Reprints of classic stories (and poems) by: C.L.R. James, Derek Walcott, Samuel Selvon, Eric Roach, V.S. Naipaul, Harold Sonny Ladoo, Michael Anthony, Willi Chen, Earl Lovelace, Robert Antoni, Elizabeth Nunez, Ismith Khan, Lawrence Scott, Wayne Brown, Jennifer Rahim, Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw, Sharon Millar, Barbara Jenkins, and Shani Mootoo.

From the introduction by Earl Lovelace:

Where Trinidad is different even from its Caribbean sisters is the degree to which it has developed its folk arts—its carnival, its steel band, its music—as forms of both rebellion and mediation. These forms have not only continued to entertain us; they ritualize rebellion, speak out against oppression, and affirm the personhood of the downpressed. This rebellion is not evident with the same intensity as it used to be. Independence and political partisanship and the growing distance of the middle class from the folk, among other developments, have seen a fluctuation in the ideals of rebellion. Yet what is incontestable is that these arts have established and maintained a safe space for conflict to be resolved or at least expressed, not in a vacuum but in the face of a status quo utilizing its muscle and myths to maintain a narrative that upholds its interests.

As the situation becomes more complex and information more crucial, our literature is best placed to challenge or to consolidate these myths. Individually, we are left to decide on whose behalf our writing will be employed. In this situation, the struggle has been within the arts themselves—whether they see themselves as an extension of rebellion or art as entertainment. Although late on the scene and without the widespread appeal of the native and folk arts, our literature can lay claim to being part of these arts of rebellion, upholding and making visible the dismissed and ignored, lifting the marginalized into personhood, persuading us that a new world is required, and establishing this island as a place in which it can be imagined and created.

 Listen to an interview with co-editor Robert Antoni with Martha Frankel on Woodstock Book Talk.

Table of Contents


Part I: Country
“Pot Luck” by Lisa Allen-Agostini (Sans Souci)
“The Rape” by Kevin Baldeosingh (Couva)
“The Funeral Party” by Shani Mootoo (San Fernando)
“Dougla” by Reena Andrea Manickchand (Caroni Swamp)
“Nowarian Blues” by Ramabai Espinet (Santa Cruz)
“Betrayal” by Willi Chen (Godineau)
“Bury Your Mother” by Jaime Lee Loy (Palmiste)
“Standing on Thin Skin” by Oonya Kempadoo (Maracas)

Part II: Town
“Woman Is Boss” by Elisha Efua Bartels (Diego Martin)
“Prophet” by Lawrence Scott (Maraval)
“How to Make Photocopies in the
Trinidad & Tobago National Archives” by Robert Antoni (Uptown Port-of-Spain)
“The Best Laid Plans” by Darby Maloney (San Juan)
“The Jaguar” by Keith Jardim (Emperor Valley Zoo)
“Eric’s Turn” by Rian Marie Extavour (Tunapuna)
“Lucille” by Elizabeth Nunez (St. James)
“Peacock Blue” by Vahni Capildeo (Fort George)
“Dark Nights” by Judith Theodore (East Dry River)
“Gita Pinky Manachandi” by Tiphanie Yanique (Chaguaramas)

Book Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Published: 5/2/17
  • IBSN: 9781617754357
  • e-IBSN: 9781617755606


EARL LOVELACE is an award-winning novelist, playwright, and short story writer. He recently received the Grand Prize for Caribbean Literature by the Regional Council of Guadeloupe and the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature. He is the coeditor of Trinidad Noir: The Classics.

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ROBERT ANTONI is equal parts Trinbagonian, Bahamian, and US citizen. He is the author of five novels, most recently As Flies to Whatless Boys. He is the recipient of a NALIS Lifetime Literary Award from the Trinidad & Tobago National Library. He is the coeditor of Trinidad Noir: The Classics.

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