Critical Context

(Critical Guide to British Fiction)

Michael Anthony was born of Afro-Caribbean ancestry in the remote Trinidadian village of Mayaro. He published poems in local newspapers before moving to England in 1954. Encouraged by the success of fellow West Indian writers Samuel Selvon and George Lamming, he began to produce more poems before being urged by V. S. Naipaul to concentrate on fiction. He had several short stories published or broadcast by the British Broadcasting Corporation and embarked on the novel The Year in San Fernando (1965), which was not published until after The Games Were Coming. He has published more than a dozen other books of fiction and popular history~ including the novel Green Days by the River (1967) and the collection of short stories Cricket in the Road (1973). In 1968, Anthony moved to Brazil before returning in 1970 to Trinidad, where he received his nation’s highest civilian award, the Order of the Humming Bird, for his achievement in literature.

The Games Were Coming is characterized by a limpid, unaffected prose style which is deceptive in its surface simplicity. By exploiting the full range of language—from dialect to standard English—available to the West Indian writer, Anthony is able to convey the world and thoughts of his dialect-speaking characters to the reader in a manner which feels natural and unmediated despite the sophisticated technique required to accomplish it. Because Anthony never treats the details of Trinidadian life as exotic, the novel is also impressive for its sensitive and authentic presentation of West Indian characters on their own terms.