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Fiction Book Club: "Hadriana in All My Dreams" by René Depestre, translated by Kaiama L. Glover

Join our Fiction Book Club in a monthly meeting to discuss a wide array of literary fiction. With an eclectic mix of authors, themes, periods, and styles, this group will explore both classic and contemporary literature. For questions about this book club, email Matt at matt@unabridgedbookstore.com.

The Fiction Book Club will meet to discuss Hadriana in All My Dreams by René Depestre, translated by Kaiama L. Glover on Wednesday, May 11th, 2021 at 7:30pm.

Despestre offers us the kind of tale we rarely get in the hundreds of zombie stories featuring Haitians, stories set both inside and outside of Haiti. In Hadriana in All My Dreams we get both langaj --the secret language of Haitian Vodou--as well as the type of descriptive, elegiac, erotic, and satirical language, and the artistic license needed to create this most nuanced and powerful novel. -From the introduction by Edwidge Danticat

Hadriana in All My Dreams, winner of the prestigious Prix Renaudot, takes place primarily during Carnival in 1938 in the Haitian village of Jacmel. A beautiful young French woman, Hadriana, is about to marry a Haitian boy from a prominent family. But on the morning of the wedding, Hadriana drinks a mysterious potion and collapses at the altar. Transformed into a zombie, her wedding becomes her funeral. She is buried by the town, revived by an evil sorcerer, and then disappears into popular legend.

Set against a backdrop of magic and eroticism, and recounted with delirious humor, the novel raises universal questions about race and sexuality. The reader comes away enchanted by the marvelous reality of Haiti's Vodou culture and convinced of Depestre's lusty claim that all beings--even the undead ones--have a right to happiness and true love.

René Depestre, born in 1926, is one of the most important voices of Haitian literature. A peer of seminal figures like Aimé Césaire, Pablo Neruda, and André Breton, Depestre has engaged with the politics/aesthetics of negritude, social realism, and surrealism for more than half a century. Having lived through significant moments in Haitian and New World history--from the overthrow of Haitian dictator Élie Lescot in 1946, to the first Congress of Black Writers and Artists in Paris in 1956, to a struggle with Haiti's François Papa Doc Duvalier in 1957, to a collaboration with Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara and a fraught relationship with Fidel Castro in the 1960s and '70s--Depestre is uniquely positioned to reflect on the extent to which the Americas and Europe are implicated in Haiti's past and present. He is the author of Hadriana in All My Dreams.

Kaiama L. Glover is an associate professor of French and Africana Studies at Barnard College, Columbia University. She is the author of Haiti Unbound: A Spiralist Challenge to the Postcolonial Canon, coeditor of Yale French Studies' Revisiting Marie Vieux-Chauvet: Paradoxes of Postcolonial Feminine (issue no. 128), and translator of Frenkétienne's Ready to Burst and Marie Vieux-Chauvet's Dance on the Volcano. She has received awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Mellon Foundation, and the Fulbright Foundation.

 
Hadriana in All My Dreams Cover Image
By René Depestre, Edwidge Danticat (Foreword by), Kaiama L. Glover (Translator)
$18.95
ISBN: 9781617755330
Availability: Available, order here for delivery or pickup.
Published: Akashic Books - May 2nd, 2017

Event date: 

Wednesday, May 11, 2022 - 7:30pm

Event address: 

Unabridged Books, Inc.
Chicago, IL 60657
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