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The Scent of the Past and other stories

Authors: Wayne Brown

Published by Peepal Tree Press

ISBN: 9781845231538

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If one wanted to find out what Trinidad and the Caribbean have been like in the last decades of the 20th century, there would be no better place to look than the stories in this collection.

Whilst many of the writers of his generation reconstructed the Caribbean world from distance and memory, publishing primarily for a metropolitan audience, Brown’s stories began as publications in his weekly newspaper column with a very substantial popular audience. But there is nothing ephemeral about this work, because Brown invested these pieces with all a major poet’s delight in the power of language and with a craftsman’s meticulous concern for their structure as short stories. Frequently, the line between fiction and actuality is deliberately blurred as Brown invokes the shaping light of memory to resurrect the people and places he had known or loved (or merely imagined). Wayne Brown is no less a character in these fictions than Philip Roth and his various avatars are in his novels. What the reader encounters in the collection is Brown’s striking ability to portray people and tell stories that are particular and unique, but which cohere to form an unrivalled portrait of a rapidly changing society.

Best known as one of the Caribbean’s most incisive commentators, Wayne Brown raised a weekly newspaper column to a literary art. Between 1984 and 2009, some 3,500 editions of his column “In Our Time” appeared in Trinidadian and Jamaican newspapers.
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