Crossing the Mangrove [1989/95] – ★★★★
The novel uncovers for us the very soul of Guadeloupe, beautiful, yes, but also as enigmatic, battered and toughened as the spirit of the central character.
Maryse Condé is an award-winning author from Guadeloupe, French overseas region, whose history, culture and tradition takes the centre stage in her book Crossing the Mangrove. In this simple narrative, written from multiple perspectives, the usual life of people in one small village of Rivière au Sel is shuttered by the arrival of one handsome and enigmatic man from Cuba – Francis Sancher. Little is known about this talkative stranger, but he soon manages to bring out the very best and the very worst in villagers, being showered with love and hate alike. And, then, his unnatural death raises even more questions than his life ever did. Vividly and poetically, Condé presents to us a small community in one forgotten village torn by passion, jealousy and hopelessness, with its people being as ready to move forward with life as content to settle into permanent inaction.Continue reading “Review: Crossing the Mangrove by Maryse Condé”