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Cut Guavas

or “POSTSCRIPT TO THE CIVILIZATION OF THE SIMIANS” a novel in the form of a screenplay


Robert Antoni
Fiction, Novels, Ebook and print
Trinidad and Tobago, United States of America
Date published
25 Oct 2018

Cut Guavas is a mash-up of the story of a Trinidadian-born actor, Austin Stoker, who is, in his Hollywood old age, shooting a sequel to the film in which he made his name, The Assault on the Civilization of The Simians; the story of Austin’s origins in 1930s Trinidad, and scenes from the film that he is making. Carefully evading the wrath of the company lawyers zealously protecting their franchise, Robert Antoni’s novel, written in film-script form, pays an affectionate fan-fiction homage to that famous simian brand, whilst at the same time deconstructing that saga for what it has to say about race in the American film and American society. The script works at multiple levels, which sometimes overlap with comic effect, with scenes of the elderly Austin as actor, battling his prostate and his failing memory and joshing with his equally elderly friends; scenes where Austin is the one human among the simian characters from the franchise commenting on their roles in past films; scenes from the imagined film itself in a post-apocalyptic world where there’s a gung-ho raid to rescue incriminating evidence from the archives of the human mutants who are the enemies of simian civilisation. Intercut with this is the moving story of Austin’s mother, Madelaine, servant in a rich French Creole house in Trinidad in the 1930s, and her affair with Austin’s white father, Barto, a narrative that tells us much about his motivations.  There’s another layer, which readers of Antoni’s Bocas prize-winning As Flies to Whatless Boys will anticipate with pleasure: the presence of wickedly comic metatextual authorial notes and commentary.

Cut Guavas is a lot of fun that nevertheless makes some serious points about race in the New World imagination.

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Robert Antoni

Robert Antoni was born in the United States in 1958, and he carries three passports: US, Trinidad and Tobago and the Bahamas.

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