The Kingdom of This World

By Alejo Carpentier, Pablo Medina (translator),

Book cover of The Kingdom of This World

Book description

Kingdom of this World (57) by Carpentier, Alejo [Paperback (2006)]

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Why read it?

2 authors picked The Kingdom of This World as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

The Kingdom of this World is written by a Cuban writer and pits two worldviews against each other—the Afro-Haitian and the French.

This short novel is set at the end of the eighteenth century in Haiti, and the French are trying to maintain control of their colonies in the Caribbean. We see these different world views from both points of view so that the same event can have disastrously different meanings.

We follow the Haitian slave, Ti Noel, who reports on “magical” happenings that stem from his Haitian belief in shape-shifting: men can take flight if necessary, or transform themselves…

The celebrated Cuban author employs the Latin American trope of magical realism in this novel of the Haitian Revolution that created the world’s first Black republic on New Year’s Day 1801. Through the eyes of the slave Ti Noël, readers meet some of the most celebrated figures of Haitian history: the legendary one-armed houngan (Vodou priest) Mackandal, the independence leader Boukman, and the first emperor of the North, Henri-Christophe. As a freedman, Ti Noël becomes disillusioned with the brutality under the new regime, including the conditions endured by workers building the Citadel fortress.

From Michele's list on understanding Haiti.

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