Monday, August 9, 2010

Review: Gouverneurs de la rosée by Jacques Roumain

Gouverneurs de La Rosee (French Edition)
Gouverneurs de la rosée (or Masters of the Dew in English) is a beautiful and haunting story about life in a small village in Haiti.  It is a story about Manuel and his family.  It's a story about his love for beautiful Annaïse.  And most of all, it's a story of his small town's struggle to survive through hard and desperate times.  Written in 1944 by Haitian-French writer Jacques Roumain, this novel brings the reader straight into poverty-stricken Haiti.  Here's a photo of Roumain:
I read this book a few years ago for a class I took at Buff State on Haitian-French literature.  I plan on reading it again soon.  If anyone else wants to read it too, maybe we could do a read-a-long.  The book can be found in English too (as Masters of the Dew).  It's easiest to find (in both French and English) through Amazon Canada.

This is one of those books that changed my life and changed the way I think about foreign literature.  It also opened my eyes to Haiti.  Before reading this book in class, we spent half a semester just learning about the history of Haiti!  We learned about the natives that used to live there, about the first colonists, the Haitian revolution and Toussant L'Ouverture, and what led to the poverty of Haiti found in this novel.  At first this book can seem a little bit frustrating because Roumain uses many Haitian words in the dialogue that are not in French dictionaries.  My teacher was awesome and gave us a list of some of the most common ones used, along with a list of the native plants that are often referred to throughout the story.

Religion plays a big role in this novel too, and there are some scenes of vodou ceremonies.  Because of this, my teacher gave us a week's lesson on the basics of Haitian vodou and how it's intertwined with Christianity.  If you don't know anything about this topic, the ceremonies and prayers in this book could be confusing.

I say all of this because if anyone decides they want to read the book, I'll willing to do the read-a-long to help peeps out.  Of if you want to brave it on your own, let me know if you want some of the resources my professor gave me.

I can promise that you won't regret reading Gouverneurs de la rosée (Masters of the Dew).  It is filled with so much beautiful imagery and there's symbolism in nature, in the colors Roumain uses to describe settings, everything.  There is also the beautiful connection and love between Manuel and his family.  This novel is a tearjerker and a masterpiece, and it deserves to be more well-known in the United States.

Title: Gouverneurs de la rosée
Author: Jacques Roumain
Date of Publication: 1944
Number of Pages: 245
Genre: Fiction
Source: personal copy


  1. hello,
    I'm also reading this book. I'm doing it for the purpose of external French exams here in Grenada. I think your offer to share the resources that your teacher gave will be great.Please tell me how this info can be sent to me- i do not want to poste email here for safety reasons =)

  2. im currently reading this novel at form six level and i also think that the sharing of your material would help me alot.... (

  3. I have chosen to write my project on this book at the end of my degree programme. I would be glad if you share with me also the sources your teacher gave to you to help me write a successful project. Thanks.

  4. hi Im currently an upper sixth form student at Decarteret College in Jamaica, and it would be really appreciated if i could get some of the resources that you offered above. I am reading this book at the sixth form level and the knowledge that u have acquired and is will to share would be very much appreciated. You may contact me at Thanks a lot Kelly!! :)

  5. hi i need the french equivalent but i cant find it.......please give me the book if u have it..this is my

  6. Hi I'm currently doing this book for cape exams so it'll be be really helpful if you send the information for me via email please .could you send the english version to it at my email address

  7. Gbegbaje lorettaMarch 1, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    hi am currently reading this i will love you to share your ideas with me