I’m a bookworm. No. I’m a gourmet bookworm. I browse, I sniff, I skim. I get a taste of the book that I’m perusing. That I’m courting. When I’m satisfied, I get it. Hard copy, soft copy, it doesn’t matter. When I get one from an author I already admire and collect, I’m happy. I get a new book, from a completely new author I’m excited. When I’m not satisfied, I put it back. I feel a certain level of sadness at the loss of potential. Or worse, I drop it in disgust, all the while feeling a niggle of guilt for mistreating the poor, hopeful product of a neglectful parent-author.
I’ve looked at authors old and established, and new and upcoming. But hardly ever have I looked at books from Caribbean authors. Even more scarcely, would I look at books from Trinidadian authors. I see little need to. Or it hadn’t even crossed my mind to. Or some other pathetic reason not to.
Whatever the reason, I’ve found the one book that cemented this idea of looking for Trinidad’s own literary collection outside the literature classroom. After all, I was one of the few who actually appreciated them for being more than textbooks. And I still peruse the novels, whether in my mind, or when I feel the need to read something a little more substantial than I usually do.
trinidad noir is that one book that convinced me of the potential blooming from this little island that I call home. It’s another instalment of the Akashic Books’ Noir series. Like the other books it provides a deeper, darker, more meaningful look into the society of the island. And possibly of the country. As many people know, Tobago has its fair share of morbid tales, despite its cheery bedside manner.
Divided into two parts – Country and Town – these authors have taken it on themselves to cast a different sort of spotlight. Not necessarily one we, as inhabitants of the island, care to acknowledge – or maybe we do. Because, think about it. This is the society we all know about. This is the society that we all try to ignore. Men get raped, too. That respectable father has many lovers, a fact known to all but them. A woman’s level of manipulation is revealed only too late. Sometimes, Trinidad is the one place you can go home to and refresh. Sometimes it’s the one place you have to leave to find peace. These are the things we want to explore, but are afraid to, for whatever reason. But here, Trinis can read and nod, because they understand.
And they look to the foreigners, those stateside, or in Europe, wherever. After reading this book, this is how you’ll see us. Dangerous? Perhaps. But at the same time. You’ll see the desperation. The humanity. The inhumanity. The reality of our people. The TDC only have eyes for foreign. They not gonna show this bit. Sun, sea and sand for them. Tourism. That’s what they’re about.
But this works just as well. Dark draws people as much as Light does.
So you read it. Then come. But don’t just be a tourist. Don’t just see the sights. See the people that make this island great.