The Wine of Astonishment by Earl Lovelace
The Wine of Astonishment is a powerful and heart-wrenching story of the persecution of Spiritual Baptists during British colonial rule in Trinidad from 1917 to 1951. The novel, situated in the remote village of Bonasse, is narrated by Eva, a middle-aged peasant and member of the Baptist Church. Her insider view, conveyed in Trinidadian Creole, pulls readers into the communal character of the Church, the oppression of West Indian people, political corruption, and the disparate motivations of community members. Earl Lovelace’s poignant novel placed him in the front ranks of Caribbean writers and established his international reputation. His well-crafted tale of change and perseverance connects us with authentic, complicated characters who struggle to exercise their freedom and retain their identity. Through their experiences of hope, betrayal, and humiliation we gain a better understanding of ethnic and religious strife and West Indian culture.