Recommended by Tân and Paul, City Lights Books
By the acclaimed Haitian poet and scholar René Philoctète, the novel Massacre River: "a tour de force by an extraordinary writer" (Edwidge Danticat).
Nestled along a border, Haitians and Dominicans have lived as one people for generations. But in 1937, when Generalissimo Trujillo—"the Lord of demented death"—orders the slaughter of all "Haitian devils," a monstrous raptor appears in the sky over the little Dominican town of Elias Piña, brooding a nightmare. Desperate to save Adèle, the Haitian wife he cherishes, the Dominican Pedro Brito sets out into the dawn—and so begins Massacre River, a tale unlike any other, where machetes can fly, severed heads demand justice, towns are flooded by "the foaming filth of genocides," the wind thinks it's a radio, and a word can literally cut throats. At the heart of this kaleidoscopic drama is the loving and sensual bond between Pedro and Adèle, tenderly evoked in language of astonishing inventiveness by a narrative voice that can turn on a dime, careening through young romance, heartbreak, skin-crawling evil, and Looney Tunes madness to a tumultuous, breathtaking finale worthy of Hieronymus Bosch.