The Dragon Can't Dance by Earl Lovelace

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Lovelace's classic novel of Carnival.

Carnival takes on social and political importance in this recognized classic. The people of the shantytown Calvary Hill, usually invisible to the rest of society, join the throng and flaunt their neighborhood personas in masquerade during Carnival. Aldrick, the dashing "king of the Hill," becomes a glorious, dancing dragon; his lovely Sylvia, a princess; Fisheye, rebel idealist, a fierce steel band contestant; and Philo, Calypso songwriter, a star. Then a business sponsors Fisheye's band, Philo gets a hit song, and Sylvia leaves the Hill with a prosperous older man. For Aldrick, it will take one more masquerade—this time, involving guns and hostages—before the illusion of power becomes reality.

About Earl Lovelace

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A statesman of Caribbean letters, Earl Lovelace is the author of five novels and many plays and essays. He lives in his native Trinidad and is presently on the faculty of Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington.
Published April 12, 1979 by HarperCollins Distribution Services. 240 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction, Professional & Technical. Fiction

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Aldrick, who, like most of the men, is unemployed, comes alive at Carnival, where it's his mission to do the Dragon dance, a dance that expresses all the people's frustrations and memories of their warrior past, and affirms their power--power that, if provoked, could burn down the city.

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Publishers Weekly

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and corporate sponsors rush to profit from Carnival and do away with its old customs of warriorhood between rival bands in favor of a more tourist-friendly version of the festivities.

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