Books by Terence Roberts

Cornucopia offers an exciting literary adventure that will captivate readers with its vivid poetic use of language. The novel poses an unusual example because of its flowing cinematic narrative style, which depicts seeing, experiencing, and feeling. Rather than simply “telling,” it “shows.” Instead of one story and one plot, there are numerous small stories that twist and turn in unforgettable ways.

Written in the first person through the eyes of a mixed-race boy growing from childhood to adolescence in the British colony of Guiana, the book shows how a writer emerges, molded by observation, contemplation, and intellectual curiosity, via his obsessive reading, cinematic appreciation, musical attention, interest in history, and use of memory.

What distinguishes this novel of surprises from familiar literature of the Americas is its deep understanding and precise characterizations of the actions that resulted in the European colonization of Guyana. It deftly avoids any specific slant to historical facts or interpretation, which can become clichés and stereotypes about the colonial ventures and lifestyles of colonizer and colonized.

With sharply detailed honesty and wit, author Terence Roberts uses his own diverse and adventurous family history to explore the obscure roots and identity of his and other people of mixed race, an urgent topic today.

The richly woven cosmopolitan history of Guyana, from its Dutch and French colonial beginning before it became British Guiana to its 1966 independence, is evoked via the narrator’s upbringing and adult education in the capital of Georgetown. This highly cultured 20th-century hot spot of literary and public cinematic culture has references extending the content of Cornucopia to explorations of pleasure.

Cornucopia marks a surprising step forward in modern literary tradition, steeped in the legacy of Marcel Proust, Claude Simon, and Marguerite Duras. It is to such forebears that the writer’s literary influences belong, resulting in his progressive first novel.

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Praise for Terence Roberts

“For artist Terence Roberts, ‘Fresh’ is the perspective.” – Linda Rutherford, editor

“The celebration of the sensuous, and his championing of it as an expression of humanism and progress, has been a feature of his work. His focus is on the act and processes of creativity … There is much to hold one’s attention at different levels.” – Alim Hosein, linguist/critic, University of Guyana

“What he offers (is) … an invitation to contemplate the creative genius of the artist in a surprising, non-academic, anti-Mannerist way.” – Neil Marks, television journalist

“Even when deeply rooted in his native culture, his language is universal and speaks directly to our soul, our spirit, and the dancing patterns of his art vibrate in harmony with the natural rhythms that are etched in our tiniest cells and molecules.” – Jean-Francois Pulvenis de Seligny, ambassador

“For Terence Roberts art is constantly evolving, and this point of view allows him to maintain a freshness and vivacity to his endeavors; his works speak to the emotions quietly … he succeeds like nobody’s business, and we are all the richer for it.” – Rashid Osman, senior editor

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The Wild Coast Arcadians

In an essay on Terence Roberts, the late Raschid Osman, culture critic and senior editor at The Guyana Chronicle, wrote: “For Terence Roberts, art is constantly evolving, and this point of view allows him to maintain a freshness and vivacity to his endeavors; his works speak to the emotions quietly … he succeeds like nobody’s business, and we are all the richer for it.”

In the 36 poems of this substantial book by Terence Roberts, man and woman are the sensitive radars of the world, wounded or seduced by romantic love and its loss, in ecstatic outdoor and indoor locations of the writer’s native land Guyana, as well as other landscapes and cities in South America and Europe.

The achievement of The Wild Coast Arcadians resides in the book’s startling ability to fuse language vividly with the tactile beauty and pain of the surrounding physical world. It will not be easy to put down or forget epic poems like “Americas Americans Amended,” “‘Night Passage,” “Côte d’Azur/Ligure,” or “The Archives of Paradise,” not to mention numerous and touching shorter poems.

The overall effect is an open-minded linguistic adventure across hedonistic tropical and Mediterranean locations, bringing to mind Neorealist films by Visconti, Antonioni, or De Sica, or rare Nouvelle Vague ones by Lelouch, Rappeneau, or Beineix. The diverse cultural qualities of the collection also offer a bonanza of practical references to classic Hollywood films, literature, and art.


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Using decades of experience as an adventurous writer/artist, who not only won a first prize for Short Fiction in 1968 (in Independent Guyana), and Canada Council Awards for contemporary Roberts-Cover-Webpainting in 1980s Toronto, Terence Roberts has combined his life experiences in the arts, and as a traveler, to produce Homage, his unique debut collection of stories.

Apart from their suggestive autobiographical/fictional data, some of these startling and often hilarious stories, are exercises in the possibilities of contemporary fiction. In all, this makes Homage an exciting read on both levels of content and style.

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About the Author

Terence Roberts is an experienced writer whose prose and poetry appeared in the magazines “Impulse: Contemporary Canadian Writers,” “Poetry Wales” in the UK, and other literary journals in Canada, and Guyana, his birthplace.

He emigrated with his parents to Toronto in 1969, and became a Canadian citizen in 1978, emerging as a key New Wave artist in the 1980s, also a TV anchor and film columnist in Independent Guyana in later years. He has resided in Toronto, Rome, Turin, Milan, Madrid, Caracas, Mexico City, Montreal, and New York City.

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