Trinidad Noir


Trinidad Noir, a collection of stories that “reveals the Caribbean island’s darkness,” as the publisher describes it, is a collection of stories that finds elements of noir fiction (crime, violence, sex, drugs, ambiguous moral codes, and femme fatales) in an unexpected setting. The book is a volume in the Akashic’s locale-based noir anthology series set outside North America and features brand-new stories by Robert Antoni, Elizabeth Nunez, Lawrence Scott, Ramabai Espinet, Shani Mootoo, Kevin Baldeosingh, Vahni Capildeo, Willi Chen, Lisa Allen-Agostini, Keith Jardim, Reena Andrea Manickchand, Tiphanie Yanique, and more.

Publishers’ Weekly had this to say about the collection:

The editors’ brief but insightful introduction makes clear that the sun and sea tourist image of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is at odds with the country’s political climate of excess and corruption and an element of society afloat in drugs and guns. While one entry, Robert Antoni’s How to Make Photocopies in the Trinidad & Tobago National Archives, mostly comprising stream-of-consciousness letters to mr. robot, may be tough going for noir fans who prefer traditional storytelling, the other 17 stories are solid. The two standouts are Keith Jardim’s mystical The Jaguar and Lawrence Scott’s Prophet, in which a series of child disappearances in a small but corrupt community builds to an appropriately bleak ending.

Booklist praised the collection as “the best of the international entries in Akashic’s series”: Covering the entire island of Trinidad, the stories take readers from the steamy jungle countryside to the tropical beaches and on to the city streets of the capital, where political intrigue thrives. The stories evoke an atmosphere so strong the reader can practically feel the heat, smell the marijuana, and hear the calypso music. The authors do an especially good job with the dialogue, portraying the speech rhythms and slang of the distinctive Caribbean island.

The Huffington Post, in a lengthy commentary based on interview with contributors (see link below) offered insights into the creation of the stories, which were written specifically for the collection. They had this to say about Elizabeth Nunez’s contribution:

Another equally unique submission is that of Dr. Elizabeth Nunez, author of Discretion, Beyond the Limbo Silence, Bruised Hibiscus, Prospero’s Daughter, among others. At the reception, Dr. Nunez acknowledged that she was not a short story writer, but felt compelled to contribute to the anthology. I probed her to learn just how she approached this task. In an email exchange, Dr. Nunez wrote,

“I am a novelist. I like the wide canvas to spread out and paint my stories. I knew immediately that I wanted to write about class and color discrimination in Trinidad; this is often a topic of my novels. The challenge for me was to find a character and an incident that would capture in few words my anger toward a society that victimizes young people because of the color of their skin and their social class. I know that the noir genre usually applies to stories of crime and misdemeanors, but I am always more interested in the crimes against the human spirit.”

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