The Frequency of Magic




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Peepal Tree Press



Peer reviewed


Multi-levelled and diverse in scene, The Frequency of Magic traverses an array of lives connected to the village of Million Hills. There’s the gritty realism of hill-side life, the speculative imagination of Luke’s travels through mythic landscapes pursued by his nemesis, the carnival figure of the Great Bandit. And there are the psychological odysseys of the musician, a jazz saxophonist, and Ella, an actor, both long separated from Million Hills, working their ways across the USA and Europe. When the paths of these exiles cross, a love affair begins. Ella, though, must wonder whether the saxophonist can love anything but his music.

Time in this richly ambitious novel is both circular and simultaneous, but moving, as Raphael ages, towards a sense of dissolution both of persons and of the culture of the village. But if there is a tragic realism about the passage of time, there is also a constant aliveness in the novel’s love affair with the language of Creole Trinidad with its poetic inventiveness and wit, with the improvisatory sounds of jazz and the undimmed urge of the villagers to create meaning in their lives. Above all, there is Raphael’s belief that in the making of his fiction, however messy and disobedient its materials, art can both challenge the destructive passage of time and make us see reality afresh.



experimental, simultaneity, Caribbean, metafiction, Trinidad


Joseph, A. (2019) The Frequency of Magic. [S.l.]: PEEPAL TREE PRESS LTD.


Research Institute