Hadriana in All My Dreams Summary and Reviews

Hadriana in All My Dreams

by René Depestre (Author), Kaiama L. Glover (Translator)

Hadriana in All My Dreams by René Depestre (Author), Kaiama L. Glover (Translator) X
Hadriana in All My Dreams by René Depestre (Author), Kaiama L. Glover (Translator)
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  • Published in USA  May 2017
    160 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

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.

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.

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Media Reviews

"Starred Review. An icon of Haitian literature serves up a hotblooded, rib-ticking, warmhearted mélange of ghost story, cultural inquiry, folk art, and véritable l'amour." - Kirkus

"Starred Review. Luscious and affirmative reading, this is work both the serious-minded and the lighthearted can enjoy." - Library Journal

"Eroticism and humor course through his narrative. Depestre's intimacy with his subject matter and his familiarity with the people he portrays - the story is set in his hometown, at the time when he was 12 years old - give readers an insider's look at Jacmelian culture." - Publishers Weekly

"You've never read about a zombie like Hadriana. Transformed into the walking dead on her wedding day, Hadriana becomes part of popular legend, one imbued with magic, eroticism, and even humor." - Tor.com

"You do not need to believe in zombies or Vodou to be carried away by this story - a metaphor for all forms of dispossession... René Depestre has gone beyond nostalgia to write a sumptuous love story." - Le Monde (France)

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René Depestre (b.1926) is one of the most important voices of twentieth century world literature. His vast corpus includes works of poetry, prose fiction, literary criticism, and political essays. A peer of and collaborator with such seminal political and literary figures as Aimé Césaire, Jacques-Stephen Alexis, Pablo Neruda, Jorge Amado, and André Breton, Depestre has engaged with the politics and aesthetics of Negritude, social realism, and Surrealism, among other major twentieth century phenomena, over the course of a career that has spanned more than half a century. Having lived and written through significant moments in Haitian, New World, and Pan African history––from the overthrow of Haitian dictator Elie Lescot in 1946, to the first Pan African Congress in Paris 1956, to a struggle with Haiti's François "Papa Doc" Duvalier in 1957, to collaboration with Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara and a fraught relationship with Fidel Castro in the 1960s and 70s––René Depestre is uniquely placed to reflect on the extent to which the entirety of the Americas and Europe are implicated in Haiti's past and present reality.

Kaiama L. Glover is associate professor of French and Africana Studies at Barnard College, Columbia University. She is author of Haiti Unbound: A Spiralist Challenge to the Postcolonial Canon, coeditor of Marie Vieux Chauvet: Paradoxes of the Postcolonial Feminine, and translator of Frankétienne's Ready to Burst. She has received awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Mellon Foundation, and the Fulbright Foundation. Her translation of Marie Chauvet's Dance on the Volcano is forthcoming. She is founding editor of sx archipelagos: a small axe journal of digital practice.

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