Dissecting Roy Heath and Guyanese literature

[Ameena Gafoor, Aftermath of Empire: The Novels of Roy A. K. Heath, The University of the West Indies Press, Kingston, 2017. pp. 256]

One of the most dedicated studies of a single author in Guyanese and West Indian literature has recently been released by the UWI Press. This is Aftermath of Empire: The Novels of Roy A.K. Heath by Ameena Gafoor. 

Full-length criticisms devoted to a single Guyanese writer are, surprisingly, very rare. Critical attention to Wilson Harris has been overwhelming, and after too long a gap, considerable attention was paid to Martin Carter. But full-length books on any one Guyanese novelist have not been published in abundance. There have been two devoted to David Dabydeen, and although Gafoor tells us in her Introduction that foremost Guyanese novelist Heath has not received the critical attention he deserves, there has been another critical work on Heath. Colonialism and the Destruction of the Mind: Psychological Issues of Race, Class, Religion and Sexuality in the Novels of Roy Heath was written by Amon Saba Saakana and published in London by Karnak House in 1996.  Aftermath of Empire: The Novels of Roy A. K. Heath is the second, and the more complete and comprehensive. This speaks to the important place that Heath commands in Guyanese literature and evidence of the impact he must have made internationally.

It also suggests the magnitude of the contribution to Caribbean literary criticism by Gafoor who is already well recognised for her work in the field of culture and literature in Guyana. She is the founder and editor of The Arts Journal, a refereed scholarly journal offering critical perspectives on literature, art and culture. The journal itself grew out of her work as pioneer of the Arts Forum, a movement promoting the culture and artistic output of the nation that has produced a number of exhibitions and other activities. She is a known literary critic and has been a judge in the Guyana Prize for Literature…..