Robert Antoni has established himself as one of the most innovative voices to emerge from the Caribbean and the Americas. His ambitious third novel, Carnival, takes us on an expedition that stretches from contemporary New York City to the glitter of Trinidadian Carnival, and deep into the island's mountainous interior. Narrator William Fletcher is an aspiring novelist who has come to New York to escape his affluent West Indian roots. A chance meeting in a Greenwich Village bar reunites him with two of his childhood companions: Laurence and the vivacious and stunning Rachel, William's first love. Together, the three make a liquor-soaked pledge to return home to Trinidad for Carnival. The festival starts with passion and pleasure, but the Carnival ecstasy slides into a fog of ganja, alcohol, and the endless calypso beat. As William, Rachel, and Laurence journey to a remote area of the rainforest to cool down after the festival, the three hope for a secret paradise, hidden behind God's back, to begin anew. But even here the demons of history, prejudice, and hatred violently intrude, as the novel's startling conclusion forces them to face both the power-and impotence-of human resilience and human love.
ROBERT ANTONI is the author of the landmark novel Divina Trace, for which he received a Commonwealth Writers' Prize and an NEA grant. His other books include Blessed Is the Fruit, My Grandmother's Erotic Folktales, and Carnival. He was a 2010 Guggenheim Fellow (for his work on As Flies to Whatless Boys), and recently received the NALIS Lifetime Literary Award from the Trinidad & Tobago National Library. He now lives in Manhattan and teaches in the graduate writing program at the New School University.