Monday, August 9, 2010
Review: Gouverneurs de la rosée by Jacques Roumain
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
Source: personal copy