A new collection of short stories titled, Fresh Carite is the latest catch from San Fernandian Willi Chen's literary inspirations.
Chen, who works and lives in Marabella, has contributed to the community through print and his inspiring stories which jolts the minds of the people, bringing them back to the days when there was simplicity in the way we lived as he recounts some real-life events of citizen in T&T.
Editor/publicist Reynold Bassant said Fresh Carite consists of 20 short stories with an impressive balance between "themes ranging from love, deceit, death and betrayal, to the humour and innocence of people caught up in stealing poultry hunting wild meat, and the self- deprecating Chinese shopkeeper, not to mention the gift of a Chinese donkey. "It's truly a riotous assembly of stories that will make you shed a tear whether you are moved to cry or laugh uncontrollably at the sheer stupidity of characters who we easily identify with. Make no bones about it. You will like the catch in the Fresh Carite collection."
Bassant said it took them one year to put the text together and they are in the process of designing a cover for it. Chen said the concept for the cover was a simple design with two carite fishes, some nets, and a pirogue.
Bassant said it was another enjoyable experience, detailing the "well-sequenced stories and how one story moved from one to the next through themes." Bassant said the book should be ready for publication by mid-November.
"I think the Ministry of Education should put this book on the school syllabus, not as a text or it is mandatory, but as comparative literature. It treats with a variety of text," Bassant said.
Chen is also confident that his collection is sound in substance and can be included in public school libraries as comparative literature.
Bassant said, "Chen never dresses his stories with moralising. He serves up the menu with flair. In the Enamel Cup, there is a deep-seated love of a man for a woman, who dies after an unfortunate accident. There are at least ten stories in which women are featured in realistic roles. They are not spineless beings and are portrayed as assertive and each defies subservience.
"Take the case of the wife who quietly discovers her husband's deceit and stages a fait accompli. She confronts him with divorce documents and he signs off on the line. And Chen continues to fry more fish in subsequent stories where women are the protagonists...
"We see a bootleg rum operation being run by a woman, deep in the forest. Then there is Sophisa, a sensuous heroine of the forest out to kill her fifth male dominator and take his place. All pure sci-fi in its theme; but Chen is surely in sync with his heroines. But he doesn't stop here. There are at least two stories —The Stick Fighter and The Last Pan man—where the women are idyllic and stand by their men in triumph or death."
Bassant believes that the book will always remain when other forms of social media reading lose its novelty.
Bassant said, "We have iPod, iPad and so on, what about I read? With the book you can take it anywhere you go. You don’t have to recharge it either. The book will continue to thrive." Chen recently launched a book titled, Toulum—A House for Matilda and was asked to represent T&T at the recently concluded Carifesta as a reader.