Vieux Fort, St. Lucia
Vieux Fort, St. Lucia
Born and raised in Vieux Fort, St. Lucia, Anderson Reynolds spent twenty years in America first attending college and then working in corporate America. Since his return to St. Lucia he has become one of the country’s most prolific and significant writers.
His first book, Death by Fire (2001), was the winner of the 2001 M&C Main Literature Prize. Against the backdrop of slavery, indentureship, natural and manmade catastrophes , racial animosities, occupational hazards, and the fictional “gods of the land” reaping havoc on the land and its people, the novel follows the lives of two boys as they engage in misdemeanor, rape and finally murder. The question is posed what causes such social decay? Is it fate, obeah, dysfunctional families, poverty, governmental neglect, or the confluence of history, nature, culture and manmade disasters? As such, Death by Fire presents “a profound statement on the nature of fate and the forces that shape society.”
In The Struggle For Survival (2003), Anderson Reynolds narrates the 1993 St. Lucia banana strike that culminated in the shooting death of two farmers. However, by going beyond the tragedy of the strike and delving into the island's history, farmers' struggles against droughts, hurricanes, falling prices, corrupt institutions, and multinational corporations is presented as a microcosm of, or metaphor for, the struggles of a people against slavery, colonialism, imperialism, and natural calamities. As such, The Struggle for Survival can be viewed as a story about the birth of a nation, and, by portrayal, the birth of West Indian civilization.
Anderson Reynolds forthcoming novel, The Stall Keeper, winner of the 2012 National Arts Award for best prose, is set in his hometown of Vieux Fort, and uses the American World War II occupation of the town as backdrop. According to the novel, faced with the preponderance of history, obeah, and human frailty, the odds are against Vieux Fortians from making something of themselves. So “even when one tried, when one scratched and fought, when one gave it one’s all, when it appeared that one was going to make it, someone or a force beyond one's control would just come and snatch it all away.”