(Literary Essentials: African American Literature)

Season of Adventure takes place two years after San Cristobal has gained its independence from Great Britain. Divided into two parts, “Arriving and Returning” and “The Revolt of the Drums,” the novel traces, through Fola Piggott’s life history, the breakdown of colonialism and construction of the new republic.

The novel opens with the native religious ritual of resurrecting the dead, the Ceremony of Souls. Fola, who has been immersed in British culture through her schooling and her home life, attends the ceremony only to please her teacher, Charlot Pressior, who accompanies her. Once there, however, the music of steel drums helps reestablish her connection with her own culture. She becomes dissatisfied with her sheltered upbringing.

Although she has always felt closer to her stepfather than to her mother, she rejects them both in an attempt to become independent and to discover her roots by finding out who her natural father is. Her obsession with learning this information takes her first to lower-class sections of the city, where she meets Chiki in a bar. Hoping that Chiki can help her, she begins visiting him in the Forest Reserve he owns, home to the very poorest of the islanders, many of whom have no education, no work, and no future. These inhabitants isolate themselves from society and wish only to be left alone, away from harassment by the police.

One day Chiki paints a portrait of a man neither he nor Fola has ever seen. Shortly afterward, Vice...

(The entire section is 615 words.)

Season of Adventure Summary

(Critical Guide to British Fiction)

Season of Adventure depicts the failures and eventual collapse of the first republic of a newly independent West Indian society, fictional San Cristobal. The failures are spurred for the most part by the new black governing class’s drive to cling to a style of colonial privilege, a drive which clashes with the common people’s persistent desire for more solid freedom. Piggot, the police commissioner, encapsulates the key dramatic and symbolic conflict of the novel’s action in his threats to dismantle one of the paramount implements of traditional culture, the steel bands: “I go clean up the bands and all what go with it.... It ain’t got time these modern days for your kind o’ monkey business.... Is time to learn a new tune.”

Piggot’s position, which is largely that of the governing class, is opposed to that of the grass-roots populace, who cling to the traditional culture symbolized by the steel bands. Early in the novel, Crim, a steel drummer of the Forest Reserve, complains about the manner whereby some colonial and present influences violate indigenous values: “Is like how education wipe out everythin’ San Cristobal got except the ceremony an’ the bands. To teacher an’ all who well-to-do it happen. Everythin’ wipe out, leavin’ only what they learn.” Crim once hoped “how the Independence would change all that wipin’ out, change everythin’ that confuse” but with Piggot’s coterie in command, that notion of Independence is erased by Piggot’s byword, “wipin’ out,” to be replaced only by the superficial trappings of a colonial legacy.

Fola, Piggot’s stepdaughter, becomes aware that something of significance has been wiped out of her experience as well. When she is about eighteen, having undergone a middle-class upbringing and a Eurocentric education, she, prompted by Charlot Pressior, her teacher and self-appointed mentor, attends a voodoo-like Ceremony of Souls in which departed spirits are invoked. She is deeply affected by this...

(The entire section is 821 words.)

Season of Adventure Bibliography

(Literary Essentials: African American Literature)

Birbalsingh, Frank. “George Lamming in Conversation with Birbalsingh.” Journal of Commonwealth Literature 23, no. 1 (1988): 182-188. Interview with Lamming in which he discusses his first six novels, stating that they can be read as one book, beginning with colonial childhood in In the Castle of My Skin. He also credits Rastafarianism with providing the linkage between concepts of Africa and the Caribbean.

Birney, Earle. “Meeting George Lamming in Jamaica.” Canadian Literature 95 (Winter, 1982): 16-28. Poet Earle Birney reminisces about his initial contacts with Lamming’s novels, then describes his unplanned meeting with Lamming. The focus of the article concerns Lamming’s political involvement with the Caribbean and how that involvement is demonstrated in Lamming’s novels. This piece also includes the author’s and Lamming’s views of other well-known Caribbean figures.

Cudjoe, Selwyn R. Resistance and the Caribbean Novel. Athens: University of Ohio Press, 1979. Discusses Lamming’s novels, particularly Of Age and Innocence and Season of Adventure. Points out that Lamming was the first Caribbean writer to use William Shakespeare’s The Tempest (pr. 1611, pb. 1623) as a point of departure for his novels.

Forbes, Curdella. From Nation to Diaspora: Samuel...

(The entire section is 458 words.)