Carnival : William Fletcher is an aspiring novelist who has come to New York to escape his affluent West Indian roots. A chance meeting in a Greenwich Village bar reunites him with two of his childhood companions: Laurence, who left the poverty of his village to become an Oxford scholar and poet, and the vivacious Rachel, William's second cousin and first love. Together the three make a liquor-soaked pledge to return "home" to Trinidad for carnival. As the festival's ecstasy slides into a fog of ganja, alcohol, and the endless calypso beat, Rachel casts her eyes on Eddoes, a member of the isolated, Rastafarian-like Earth People - and the year's young and scandalous carnival king. Eddoes has escaped his sequestered life in the mysterious Hell Valley for a few days of excitement, and it is to this remote place that the group goes to cool down after the festival. In the rain forest the group hopes for a secret paradise from which to begin anew. But even here the demons of history, prejudice, and hatred violently intrude, as the novel's startling conclusion forces all to face the power - and impotence - of human resilience and human love.