With the republication of Garth St. Omer’s novels, around fifty years after their original appearance, a new generation of readers has been discovering how modern a writer he is, whilst others have been remembering just how good the novels are. These qualities are documented in this casebook that brings together reviews from the time of first publication, later critical surveys, personal memories and contemporary re-assessments of St. Omer’s small but important body of work.
To indicate that St. Omer’s most sympathetic Caribbean critics have included Edward Baugh, Kenneth Ramchand and Gordon Rohlehr says something significant about the earlier recognition of his work, whilst the enthusiastic critical discussions of the young St. Lucian scholars Malica Willie and Milt Moise indicate the lasting and still challenging qualities of writing about what would be their grandparents’ generation.
Edited with an introductory survey by Antonia MacDonald, essays discuss both individual novels (including St. Omer’s never previously published novel Prisnms) and the themes that run through his work, including the significance of masks and masking, his sensitivity to issue of gender inequalities, his exactness in recording the complex nature of the interplay between race, class and culture, and his resolute honesty in acknowledging the real difficulty of moving from colonial to independent mentalities and his relationship to existentialist philosophy.
The Casebook includes reviews from: E.K. Brathwaite, Cliff Lashley, John Wickham, Kenneth Ramchand, John Hemming, Maurice Capitanchick; previously published surveys by Edward Baugh, John Robert Lee, Pat Ismond, Jacqueline Cousins and Gordon Rohlehr; personal responses by Velma Pollard and Jane King; and new critical essays by Mallica Willie, Milt Moise, Jeremy Poynting, Edward Baugh and Antonia MacDonald.