Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Dragon Can’t Dance by Earl Lovelace

Me and Earl Lovelace

I met Earl at the Bocas Lit Fest in Trinidad, and I was not familiar with him nor his writings before the festival; however, after seeing him at the lit fest, I developed totally respect for him and even a little schoolgirl crush.

While at the lit fest, I attended a tribute for the writer Eric Roach, and Earl was one of the readers who paid tribute to Eric.

Eric Roach

I was sitting behind Earl, and I got the chance to get a good look at him. He is an older man with a very strong presence, and he looks like he is not afraid of a little hard work. (I love a man who is strong yet soft!)

He got up to speak, his presence was felt, and his reading and talk were quite captivating; I had to find out more about Earl Lovelace.

Earl during his talk!

I had quite a pleasant conversation with Earl and my schoolgirl crush continued to grow...

I finally decided that I must read something by Earl Lovelace. I asked him which one of his books would he suggest that I read, and he suggested The Dragon Can’t Dance, and he even signed it for me.

My people, I love this book.

Earl has a way with words that completely pulled me to Port of Spain. As I was reading The Dragon Can’t Dance, I was trying to figure out what literary technique was Earl using to make me feel and vividly see Port of Spain, and I came to the conclusion that it was the descriptive language:
“But to Miss Olive’s daughter, Sylvia, at seventeen, ripening like a mango rose, watching from one corner of the yard, snapping her fingers, tapping her feet to calypso music prancing in her brain, Miss Cleothilda’s performance done on her verandah in her shimmering bodice of black and gold brought the full excitement and panic of the approaching Carnival."
He brought the carnival atmosphere to life, and he left me wanting to go back to Trinidad for the carnival.

Earl tells the story of Aldrick who spends most of the year designing his dragon costume for the carnival. Through several characters, we are able to see the development of Aldrick and is told of his journey to self discovery which seems to mimic the changing Port of Spain.

This books looks at what happens to people who are trying to find themselves in a society where they may be invisible, but they are trying to carve out their own space and identity.

Earl carefully develop this story and leaves the reader feeling quite satisfied.....

As I was standing to pay for this book at the Bocas Lit Festival, a woman said to me “This is a very important book,” and after reading it, I totally agree. This is one of those books with underlining meanings that I will try to digest for quite awhile.

I wish that I had read this novel before I went to Trinidad for the lit fest, but I am hoping that my path will cross Earl’s path again so that I can ask the many questions that are floating around in my mind.

Consider adding this book to your reading list....

Next I’ll be reading The Forgotten Fifth: African Americans in the Age of Revolution by Gary B. Nash which is on my summer 2015 reading list.


Unknown said...

Thank you Jackie. I do love how you seem to be attracting amazing people in your life. That's a sign!

Jacqueline said...

Attract, Attract, Attract is the word of the day!

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