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Robert Antoni took the literary world by storm with his first novel, Divina Trace, which won the Commonwealth Writers Prize and is widely recognized as a landmark in Caribbean literature. His second novel, Blessed Is the Fruit, received extraordinary literary praise and was hailed by Robert Olen Butler as "an enduring work of art." My Grandmother's Erotic Folktales is a seductive collection of folktales retold by an exotic grandmother to her innocent young grandson. Set amid the lush landscape of the island of Corpus Christi during World War II, these erotic tales were originally meant to keep the U.S. servicemen who were stationed on the island out of the brothels -- and out of trouble. Now, in her ninety-seventh year, the widow tells these stories as a tapestry of interlocking and exaggerated memories -- all the more colorful for the retelling. "May infuse even the most jaded adult readers with a strangely rejuvenating delight." -- The Seattle Times "Sly as it is funny and revealing as it is bold." -- The Miami Herald "As surprising and luminous as a hidden tropical waterfall" -- The Washington Post
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Antoni offers up an incongruous blend of flavors in this lively collection of five short stories set in a boarding house for American soldiers near the seaside town of Corpus Cristi. The feisty old woman narrator, reminiscing to her grandson, Johnny, about her days as proprietress, recalls feeding her ravenous charges everything from a five-foot armadillo to a dozen buckets of fried chicken. The result is a stew of traditional Caribbean folktales and riffs on American pop culture, sometimes as tantalizing as the sweet, succulent mangoes an orphan girl devours in one of the book's cleverest stories, "How Crab-O Lost His Head" but sometimes as hard to digest as a stomach full of overripe fruit. Antoni's first novel, Divina Trace, won the Commonwealth Prize and revealed the author's penchant for writing in dialect, a device he employs here to both charming and exhausting effect. His grandmother peppers her monologue with Caribbean exclamations and colorful turns of phrase ("But this story was smelling blancyfoot to me yes"); her folktales are both erotic and scatological, a bluer version of Kipling's Just So Stories. They are contained within an elaborate narrative frame dramatizing the woman's struggle to run a "proper" boarding house during WWII while fending off a parade of shysters, corrupt policemen and prostitutes looking for American clients. Colonel Sanders tries to convince her to open a pizza restaurant; an impostor king claims to have discovered a trove of gold bricks on her land. While sometimes duped by snake-oil salesmen, Johnny's grandmother always manages to come out on top and get the last word. This is a frequently riotous read, though best taken in small doses.
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If one were to imagine a grandmother's afternoon of stories to entertain her grandson, this collection would at first seem an unlikely candidate. Even though the stories are rooted in the history of the Caribbean island where they are set, and they are interwoven with the story of a family's fortunes as well as traditional island tales, the result is so outrageous as to quickly erase any standard notion of a sweet-faced, mild-mannered grandmother as their teller. In her tales she debunks con men, defies generals, and all the while raises children who go off to medical school in Canada. Her bawdy, scatological, and exaggerated style of storytelling and her startlingly descriptive language all but surpass the tales themselves. But very little imagination is necessary to see the wide-eyed, rapt child hanging on every word. The lessons of life and the joys of living are expressed and taught painlessly, invisibly. What a wonderful collection this turns out to be! Danise Hoover
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Book Description Condition: New. Brand New. Seller Inventory # 0802139000
Book Description Brand: Grove Press, 2002. Paperback. Condition: BRAND NEW. Seller Inventory # 0802139000_abe_bn
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Book Description Grove Press / Atlantic Monthly Press, United States, 2002. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English. Brand new Book. Blending Caribbean folk stories with modern settings, this unique collection of stories narrated by a ninety-seven-year old woman alternates between the lewd, witty, and lyrical. Reprint. Seller Inventory # BZE9780802139009
Book Description Grove Press / Atlantic Monthly Press, United States, 2002. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English. Brand new Book. Blending Caribbean folk stories with modern settings, this unique collection of stories narrated by a ninety-seven-year old woman alternates between the lewd, witty, and lyrical. Reprint. Seller Inventory # BTE9780802139009
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Book Description Grove Press, 2002. Paperback. Condition: New. Ships with Tracking Number! INTERNATIONAL WORLDWIDE Shipping available. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!. Seller Inventory # 0802139000n
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