THE FICTION OF ROBERT ANTONI: Writing in the Estuary

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The Fiction of Robert Antoni: Writing in the Estuary is the first full-length study of the work of this important Trinidadian/ Bahamian Caribbean writer. When his first novel, Divina Trace , appeared in 1992, one critic compared it to a collaboration between James Joyce and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But Antoni's fiction is startlingly original. Each of his subsequent books is quite different from the one before, but all have their common origin in generations of experience in the West Indies, much of which was passed down to Antoni through a rich family tradition of storytelling. The novels are marked as well by Antoni's almost unique ability to navigate both the headwaters and tributaries of Caribbean folk tale and the limitless oceans of modernist and postmodernist texts. Taken together, Antoni's work postulates and embodies a Caribbean sensibility that is estuarial: almost every paragraph displays the multiple tributaries that form Caribbean culture, as well as the impulse to mix, mingle, and reach out to the wider world, like a river flowing into the sea. Patteson places Antoni's work in the multiple contexts of Caribbean storytelling, twentieth-century literature and contemporary Caribbean fiction, then explores each of his innovative and complex texts. In these diverse narratives Patteson finds reflections on the nature of human consciousness and its relationship to language, culture and storytelling itself, as well as sharp insight into the region and its tormented history. This book confirms Antoni's relevance to the literature of the Caribbean and the world.