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Cut Guavas

Authors: Robert Antoni

Published by Peepal Tree Press

ISBN: 9781845234294

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Evading the wrath of company lawyers zealously protecting their franchise, Robert Antoni’s novel, written partially in film-script form, pays fan-fiction homage to that famous simian brand, whilst at the same time deconstructing the saga for what it has to say about race in the film and in American society.

Austin Stoker – a character based on a real-life Trinidadian actor in Hollywood – is shooting the sequel to Assault of the Civilization of the Simians in his old age, the Hollywood film that launched his moderately successful acting career. But Stoker, drinking back-home Trinidadian remedies but not taking his prescribed dementia medicine, finds separating reality from fiction to be an increasingly difficult task.

Intercut with this film script and the often funny backstory of the ageing actors’ lives is a moving novella about Austin’s mother, Madeleine, a servant in a rich French Creole house in Trinidad in the 1940s, and her affair with Austin’s white father, Barto, a colonial narrative that is in its own way as much about a vanishing fantasy life as the world of Hollywood.

There’s still another layer, which readers of Antoni’s Bocas prize-winning As Flies to Whatless Boys will anticipate with pleasure: the presence of wickedly comic metatextual authorial notes and commentary.

Cut Guavas is written in a spirit of fun that nevertheless makes serious points about race in the New World imagination. A master storyteller, Antoni combines its multiple strands in a way that feels both effortless and seamless.



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