Book review • Book review ~ A meeting of the creative minds

After seeing a review of his book “Leaves in a River” in last Saturday’s STAR Newspaper writer Earl G. Long decided to pay the writer a visit. Claudia Eleibox, who is employed with the bookYard, was more than surprised that Long had taken time out to meet with her. The two spent some time chatting and sharing ideas at the nearby Yard cafe. An avid reader, Eleibox explains that it is beyond her why more people do not derive pleasure from books. About Long’s ‘Leaves in a River’ Eleibox wrote, “I have to admit, initially I did not expect this book to be so captivating but after the first few pages I was completely engrossed.”

Earl G. Long was born in Saint Lucia and studied at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He worked for several years with the United States Public Health Service and lived and worked in Pretoria, South Africa.

He has worked all over the world, most recently in the Congo with the US Agency for International development. He has published widely in specialist medical journals and has several published novels. In 1993 he won the Essence short story competition.

Claudia Eleibox, left, discusssing books with author Earl G. Long at the Yard.

Claudia Eleibox, left, discusssing books with author Earl G. Long at the Yard.

In 1990, Dr Earl Long published the first description of the tropical intestinal parasite, Cyclospora cayetanensis and documented its diagnostic characteristics.

While in the Congo, Dr Long conducted research on malaria, tuberculosis, AIDS and gastroenterology. He worked under conditions in which there was no cable-transmitted electricity. However, he needed electricity to power his microscope, which was an indispensable tool in his work. With the help of an engineer, he designed the battery-powered “E.A.R.L. light” – the External Autonomous Repositionable Lightweight light, which became a valuable resource for field use.

In 1996, Dr Long established collaborative research and training activities between the University of the West Indies School of Medicine, the Morehouse School of Medicine and the Centres for Disease Control. Since 1998, he has been an Adjunct Professor at the College of Allied Health of Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and an Adjunct Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. He left the CDC in 2004.

Dr Long is also a dedicated fiction author, who counts West Indian authors like Vidya Naipaul and Derek Walcott as his inspirations. He has written four novels set in the West Indies: Consolation, Voices From A Drum, Leaves In A River and Slicer. In his spare time, he enjoys shooting, snorkelling and cooking, visiting museums and the movies, and listening to classical music.

Dr Earl Long advises kids that, “The most powerful tool is language; it is the easiest way to get what you want.” He adds that, “Without language you cannot do anything or understand the sciences,”

As for career advice, he notes that, “if you want to get into the sciences, it is best to combine your studies with non-science subjects to get a real education.” He advises youths to “do something they like and also do something that will make them a living.”

You can pick up a copy of Earl G. Long’s ‘Leaves in a River’ at the bookYard.

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