Earl Lovelace - Is Just a Movie (3 stars)

Earl Lovelace - Is Just a Movie

In the aftermath of the 1970s Black Power Revolution, a Trinidadian musician named King Kala finds that the calypso style he plays, like the movement he supported, has slipped out of fashion. Meanwhile, young troublemaker Sonnyboy Apparicio, inspired by ‘the compelling poetry of his leaders’ surrender’, demands to be arrested as a radical to make his family proud. The pair meet in a police station, and their intertwined stories bring us insight into these post-revolutionary, post-colonial times.

His sixth novel in a 45-year writing career, this is also 75-year-old Earl Lovelace’s first since 1996’s Salt. The Trinidadian writer’s pace is measured, to say the least (in fairness, he’s also written many plays and columns in that period), but that’s precisely how his books demand to be read. There’s no great sense of urgency here: instead, a comfort zone of rich-in-dialect observation is revealed, and it’s easy to imagine that the gentle rhythmic pacing echoes the speed of life in Lovelace’s homeland.

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