The Dragon Can't Dance (2020)

The Dragon Can't Dance Earl Lovelace The Dragon Can t Dance Carnival takes on social and political importance in this recognized classic The people of the shantytown Calvary Hill usually invisible to the rest of society join the throng and flaunt their neigh
  • Title: The Dragon Can't Dance
  • Author: Earl Lovelace
  • ISBN: 9780892552726
  • Page: 159
  • Format: Paperback
The Dragon Can't Dance Earl Lovelace Carnival takes on social and political importance in this recognized classic The people of the shantytown Calvary Hill, usually invisible to the rest of society, join the throng and flaunt their neighborhood personas in masquerade during Carnival Aldrick, the dashing king of the Hill, becomes a glorious, dancing dragon his lovely Sylvia, a princess Fisheye, rebel ideCarnival takes on social and political importance in this recognized classic The people of the shantytown Calvary Hill, usually invisible to the rest of society, join the throng and flaunt their neighborhood personas in masquerade during Carnival Aldrick, the dashing king of the Hill, becomes a glorious, dancing dragon his lovely Sylvia, a princess Fisheye, rebel idealist, a fierce steel band contestant and Philo, Calypso songwriter, a star Then a business sponsors Fisheye s band, Philo gets a hit song, and Sylvia leaves the Hill with a prosperous older man For Aldrick, it will take one masquerade this time, involving guns and hostages before the illusion of power becomes reality.
The Dragon Can't Dance Earl Lovelace

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One thought on “The Dragon Can't Dance

  1. Hazel

    I had forgotten how stunning this book is On this rereading, I found the prologue, on poverty and futility, so poignant and painful that I was minded to desist, and pick up something light and insubstantial instead I persisted and am rewarded with an engaging narrative of the stories of individuals the ripening girl destined for whoredom the vigorous young man seeking to release his energy in warfare the frustrated artist, with a single annual outlet for his creativity the outsider, seeking to b [...]

  2. Roger DeBlanck

    Earl Lovelace s novel left me spellbound with how possibly to express its beauty and brilliance With the hypnotic lyricism of its prose, the intricacy of its story, and the depth to which Lovelace investigates the struggles of an entire community, this book is an extraordinary piece of art Only the great Naguib Mahfouz comes to mind as having a similar ability as Lovelace in probing the psychological and emotional depths of his characters The story takes places in the poverty stricken shantytown [...]

  3. Lowell Brower

    Like a record by an unknown genius picked at random out of a dollar bin at goodwill, this book, when I brought it home and unleashed it, actually truly made me want to dance Written in poor talk, a highly lyrical Trinidadian Pidgin English which allows for incredible and delightful feats of linguistic dexterity, Lovelace s 250 page novel depicts the beautifully chaotic, pot holed, garbage strewn life of a small shantytown on the outskirts of Port of Spain, Trinidad, as its inhabitants prepare fo [...]

  4. Alliyah

    A very enjoyable read Lovelace writes beautifully and is almost Baldwin esque in his thoughtful prose and perfect imagery.

  5. Miguel

    First review, 11 26 12 Earl Lovelace s The Dragon Can t Dance, set in Trinidad, positions the complex ritual of Carnival in a socio political context Unpacking Carnival is synonymous with examining the Caribbean self, as Aldrick journeys from an anonymous masquerade dragon to an authentic self Lovelace explores characters from various backgrounds, exploring the transformation each undergoes as consumerism and corporate influence creep into Carnival From the bad John, Fisheye, to the rising calyp [...]

  6. Andrew

    The main character in this novel is not really Aldrick, who plays the dragon, or Fish eye the bad john , or anyone else, but the district of Calvary Hill itself Earl Lovelace introduces us to a range of different characters who live in Calvary Hill, a poor district on the edge of Port of Spain, and we follow them through the years as the neighbourhood changes and the characters are caught between embracing the new and regretting the loss of the old.Carnival plays a major role in the novel I hear [...]

  7. Debbie Boucher

    My survey of TT Caribbean literature continues, and I must say I m impressed I wanted to read something by a Creole to get that point of view, and Earl Lovelace didn t disappoint The book elucidates the Carnival experience here it s importance, it s facets, etc But the book is also a social commentary, and that is where its strength lies Every book I ve read about TT so far has done this beautifully, and it enriches my experience here It also reminds me of how many good books there are out there [...]

  8. Ruth

    An oldie but goodie, set amid the poor residents of Calvary Hill, an urban enclave in Trinidad I love Lovelace s incredible, patient empathy with his characters Years go by they re still plodding along, because that s all they can find to do But some of them deepen their consciousness change, personally politically It s a very internal novel gets deep inside the heads of numerous characters Even when I m super annoyed with some of them, there s a degree of empathy caring that the novelist has ta [...]

  9. Michelle Hirschfeld

    This novel is an excellent portal into Trinidad a colorful world of Carnival, calypso, and masquerade The story is both heartbreaking and touching The novel revolves around Aldrick, who plays the dragon during Carnival, and his interactions with other people in the neighborhood There s Fisheye, the neighborhood ruffian, Sylvia, the wild beauty, and Parig, the West Indian outsider It was an entertaining and educational read that taught me a lot about the culture of Trinidad.

  10. Apphia Barton

    After reading CLR James Black Jacobins, my head was ablaze This was the perfect cool down humorous and relateable as a fellow Trinidadian His understanding of his our culture is manifest here The trend of anticipating the upcoming Carnival season the day after the end of the current year s festivities live on Who hushed to their bosoms an anger older than themselves Lovelace is the master of prose poetry Anthropological Social commentary the analysis of race relations in Trinidad, all wrapped up [...]

  11. Ethan Parkin

    Somewhat poetic in its, inconsistent, often confused sentence and language structure and it s use of time is needlessly sporadic however, despite its imperfections this book is somehow perfect in its own little way.

  12. David

    There is dancing in the calypso Dance If the words mourn the death of a neighbour, the music insists that you dance if it tells the troubles of a brother, the music says dance Dance to the hurt Dance If you catching hell, dance, and the government don t care, dance Dance Dance Dance One of the novels from my childhood, I ve been inspired to pick up The Dragon Can t Dance again after meeting and chatting with the author yesterday The novel is a triumphant celebration of the culture and creativity [...]

  13. Dorothy Tweets

    Recommended by a Caribbean writer s bookclub at the local books store, I am thrilled that I picked up a copy and plowed through it Lovelace sets his novel in the late 1960s, a few years after Trinidad gained its independence from England The nation, like Aldrick who plays a dragon in the annual Carnival, is struggling to define its identity and personhood The novel demanded my full attention the language was so lyrical and nuanced that I was prone to re read whole sections just to relish the ima [...]

  14. Andrea

    This book is a little unique in that I d give it 4 stars for content and portrayal of the culture in Trinidad and maybe 3 for enjoyment of reading Therefore, maybe a 3.5 total.My interest in this book primarily comes from my recent and future travels to Trinidad and my desire to learn about the people and culture of the island In that way, I found the book extremely interesting Those who don t have as big of a stake in Trinidad may not find it as interesting The book is about the relations of a [...]

  15. Jennifer Collins

    As much as surveillance is a nearly palpable force within this work, the narrative is surprisingly humorous and quickly paced Lovelace s wonderfully written work is grounded in a shantytown of Trinidad, and rings with the dialects and carnivals of the area, but each of the colorful characters in his narrative is also personally at war with the shadows of a postcolonial reality that makes even festivals seem something of a farce at real living As a novel and as a narrative, this is an entertainin [...]

  16. Nicolette Bethel

    Read this book, oh, 20 years ago now, but it remains part of my blood and bones Of all the books by Caribbean novelists I ve read, this is my favourite Lovelace s language is lush and his characters are archetypal and unique all at once, and the story is about carnival from the inside, from the bottom up, carnival as self expression, as social protest, as equalizer, as power to the powerless, all these things I read the end of the book while waiting in Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge for a ro [...]

  17. Bob Arbogast

    I read this book a year ago and it s still with me It s rare for a book to be so present in my thoughts for such a long time The Wide Sargasso Sea had a similar impact Both of these books contain so much longing and pain they re like ghosts that refuse to be laid to rest Dragon is about people s need for acceptance and validation, and their inability to connect Mr Lovelace s characters are flawed and human Throughout the book we witness their missteps None of the characters are bad They don t be [...]

  18. Chrissy

    This book adds to the reasons I love rummaging through the used book shelf at many bookstores The authors lush depiction of Trinidadian culture juxtaposed against economic distress is captivating There s a triumph the book captures as the characters turn their everyday struggle and feeling of powerlessness into the yearly festivity of Carnival As a person of West Indian descent, I became spellbound into the futility and societal impact of dancing and music the prose cultivates The characters in [...]

  19. Tom

    I went into this story knowing absolutely nothing about it or the author, and I was blown away Despite taking place in Trinidad, and centering around life in a ghetto that s focused on Carnival each year, I found myself identifying very strongly with the struggles faced by the characters Aldrick especially I especially loved the way that Lovelace wove Creole ways of talking into both dialogue and narration, mixing it with proper English into a mish mash that pulled the reader down to the street [...]

  20. Mindy Barrios

    This book was truly a mark of genius I am a proud Trinidadian and my culture part of our historical and economical gap was truly depicted within its pages The mindset of all the bad Johns , the dragons , the lust and mood are all,as set forth in this historical fiction, lends an eye to the background struggles of our society and the unique manner in which my people deal with these struggles The mood, the plot, the setting, the characters and the conflicts all stem from well known ghettos , and s [...]

  21. Luis Diego Gene

    I was forced to read it It s a good book but it s definitely not something I d read on my own free will hence the low score 1 star stands for I didn t like it and I most certainly did not, but it was bearable, so I ll just say it was ok Objectively speaking, the author portrays what he intends almost flawlessly, with very detailed and crude descriptions of the setting as well as valuable character depth I d recommend it if you re sure you like this kind of Genre, but if you share my taste for sh [...]

  22. Barbara Rhine

    I do think Earl Lovelace has done something very unusual here, which is to get inside the heads of young black guys who inhabit the slums in Trinidad, and have little or nothing to do with their lives He spends a lot of time in the interiors of his characters, and while it is very interesting, by the end, for me, the book had that age old problem of telling, instead of showing The plot was slow and by the end, almost nonexistent Still, though, worth reading due to the unusual voice and point of [...]

  23. laRose

    i was completely taken by this book Lovelace s ability to tap into various unconscious human consciousnesses make them so thick tangible proved overwhelming at times how he explores self the losing, finding, showing of it in and to society the world how he explores aloneness loneliness alienation how he speaks on power womanness so many other poignant matters this is beautiful genius i must find time to read it again.

  24. Caitlin

    This is an interesting book that discusses Trinidad and Tobago and the struggles the black community has They are poor and suffer racial violence and lethargy Carnival is the heart of their culture and they prepare for it all year This story is a tragedy and Lovelace creates a slow build up to the climax It is well worth the read, it opens you up to a world we know nothing about as Americans I had no idea that I would be living in the Caribbean two years later

  25. Stephany

    This book is amazing a great read in the Afro Caribbean Literature genre I read it for a literature class of the same name I was deeply moved by every single character, they each have a purpose, the reader becomes attached to all of them The novel has much depth and should be read by anybody who wishes to learn about Afro Caribbean cultures and Caribbeans themselves.

  26. Zach VandeZande

    I would put Earl Lovelace on par with the best writing coming out of the rest of the world during his time period, East and West A meditation on resistance and identity, the book centers around a Carnival in Trinidad in which the characters slowly realize their situation in life and the ruling class threatens to squeeze them out of their own culture Good stuff.

  27. Harry

    A Tour de Force Having lived in Trinidad for almost 6 years I know how well it captures the spirit, culture and language of the place.Using spare descriptions Earl manages to bring the characters alive in great depth.The language is lively and still current Great writing.

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