In 2011, the Trinidad government declared a state of emergency and an overnight curfew. The SoE, brought in to combat the crime and killings associated with the drugs trade, was meant to last 15 days but lasted 4 months. This is the background to these chronicles, but not their substance. They are an imaginative response to the undertones of those days. Taking place over 24 hours, Curfew Chronicles brings together the lives of two dozen characters whose lives intersect in mostly fortuitous ways.
From the Minister and his wife, to those targeted by the state; from those in regular jobs, to those who scuffle for a living on or over the edge of the law: no one is unaffected by the SoE. What makes these stories individually rich (and collectively ingenious) is the depth of characterisation. There is Scholar the street-corner prophet, Ragga with his vision of better days, Amber the security guard and poet and her policeman lover Calvin, eager to retire from clearing up little matters like the “weed” found in the PM’s residence, and more. Each has a resonant backstory. As these characters criss-cross Trinidad, Rahim builds an unforgettable world of people in a vividly realised landscape
Jennifer Rahim is Trinidadian. Her first collection of poems, Mothers Are Not the Only Linguists was published in 1992, followed by Between the Fence and the Forest, Approaching Sabbaths, which won a Casa de las Américas Prize 2010, and most recently Ground Level. She also writes short fiction, and published the acclaimed Songster and other stories in 2007, and most recently, Curfew Chronicles in 2017.
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