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Photograph - Eugene McConville

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Night Calypso/Calypso De Nuit

1938 is a tumultuous year on the small Trinidadian island of El Caracol, which houses a leper colony and a convent. In the sultry heat of the dry season a young orphan, Theo, is sent to live with the island’s doctor, Vincent Metivier. The doctor knows little of Theo’s past, only that it has been troubled and that he now needs love and attention.

As Theo settles into the rhythm of life in El Caracol, he begins to unburden himself of his demons. Every night, he sleeptalks his own strange , disturbing calypso about his childhood. Vincent listens and, gradually, learns what demons still haunt the boy’s mind. And as his friendship with the passionate , unpredictable nurse Sister Weil intensifies, Vincent finds his settled life spiralling dangerously out of control, as war in Europe looms on the horizon.

A richly sensual, heartfelt novel, Night Calypso is the work of one of the world’s most imaginative writers

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Critical Essays

'From Silent Wounds to Narrated Words': Calypso Storytelling in Lawrence Scott's Night Calypso

Njelle Hamilton http://scholarlyrepository.miami.edu/anthurium/vol10/iss1/

Allen-Agostini, Lisa. 2004 Night Calypso, Sunday Guardian T&T March 21, 2004

Jacob, Debbie. 2004. Appealing Rewarding Calypso, Express T&T Mon. 29 March 2004

Maes–Jelinek, Hena. 2005, Europe and Post-colonial creativity: a metaphysical cross-culturalism –European review Vol 13 , No 1 91-102. © Academia Europaea

McLaurin, David. 2004, Novel of the Week, The Tablet, UK 30 October 2004.

Niblett, Michael. 2004, Review, Wasafiri, Winter 2004 Issue 43

Phillips, Mike 2004. Island At War, The Guardian Review UK 8 May 2004 p27

Regis, Louis. 2004. Night Calypso, Trinidad & Tobago Review, June 7 2004 p23

Roe, Dinah. 2004. A Monk who got in to the habit of writing, Ham & High UK, Arts & FeaturesXI June 18, 2004

Searle, Chris. 2004. A Heroic Struggle in Trinidad, Morning Star (Advertiser) 21 July, 2004

Walcott-Hackshaw Elizabeth. 2004. The Many Voices of Lawrence Scott, Sunday Guardian T&T March 28, 2004

 

Reviews

He writes with an almost painterly precision about the look of things - the breaking of dawn, the power of the hurricane, the smell of fish, the changes in light and the mood of the sea.... Night Calypso is unique in being a serious, knowledgeable and beautifully written treatise about a little-known corner of experience and its relationship to a wider world..... The Guardian Review

Scott is an accomplished storyteller who weaves narrative strands together with great skill and historical erudition. Night Calypso adds to the potent canon of the Caribbean novel tradition and gives us history and struggle in the most amenable of forms . It is an educative, startling and moving reading experience. Chris Searle - Morning Star

Scott has real genius….This immensely rewarding novel must surely be a contender for the next Booker shortlist. David McLaurin - The Tablet

As always in Scott’s work, the voice of Theo takes on the cadences, the ellipses, the rhythms of the experience he re-enacts -so we don’t just read it- we hear it as well as smell it, feel it, see it. But what I shall remember are the wonderful moments of tenderness-the turtle laying her eggs on a beach at night and the gentle washing of a boy in seawater. Melissa Marsh - London Launch at The Institute of Commonwealth Studies

There is an impressive symbiosis between personal and world suffering and world suffering and an obvious, though implicit, parallel between the holocaust and the extermination of the Carib Indians as well as between these and the plantation master’s sadism. It evinces a cross-culturalism rooted in the individial and humanity’s nature, his/its capacity for good and evil. European Review - Hena Maes-Jelinek

The redemptive power of storytelling –its ability to help heal the wounds of history is at the heart of this new work from Lawrence Scott. Scott conveys this with elegance and power. Michael Niblett Wasafiri

It was with a sense of personal satisfaction that I acknowledge the way in which the calypso is privileged as the social archive of the period. Night Calypso is an eminently readable narrative thoroughly enjoyable as an adventure into imagination. Louis Regis - Trinidad & Tobago Review

Scott has written with great sensitivity on the complex nature of love and has created through the strengths, the cowardice, the guilt, and the humanity of Vincent Metivier a portrait of such complexity, honesty and ambiguity that it can only be seen as true. Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw - The Trinidad Sunday Guardian.

Scott is able to strip characters to their souls. No other West Indian writer I know is is so adept at presenting an important West Indian conflict: the struggle between the sacred and the profane. Debbie Jacob - Trinidad Express

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