Going to Ground
by Jeremy Taylor
Prospect Press, Trinidad
Jeremy Taylor is a British-born writer and self-confessed liberal who has lived in Trinidad since 1971. The 68 essays in Going to Ground were chosen from twenty years of his newspaper columns, magazine features and radio commentaries.
The essays, most of them less than three pages long, range from thoughtful to hilarious to compassionate to a kind of baffled musing. The funniest section is the TV reviews (don't miss "Soft Soap" on the TV series Dallas, and a piece called "Muddles" on beauty contests) but there are chuckles to be had even in the serious pieces. Topics are wide-ranging, often unexpected: one called "The Violent Home" deals with memories of an abusive father. Another looks bemusedly at Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time." There's a riveting piece on depression sparked by the bizarre suicide of an American in Trinidad in 1990. Lighthearted or serious, the essays have a seed-like quality; that is to say, long after you thought you had forgotten, an image or a thought resurfaces in a hidden corner of the mind and you realise that all that time it was quietly taking root. A consistency of viewpoint binds the collection together.
Jeremy Taylor's weekly columns have been much missed since he went to ground. This book goes some way towards filling the gap.
Going To Ground can be ordered from Folio Books.
M.A., 4 March 1997