In 1937 the power-mad racist Generalissimo Trujillo ordered the slaughter of thousands and thousands of Haitians and, as Philoctete puts it, death set up shop everywhere. At the heart of Massacre River is the loving marriage of the Dominican Pedro and the Haitian Adele in a little town on the Dominican border. On his way to work, Pedro worries that a massacre is in the making; an olive-drab truck packed with armed soldiers rumbles by. And then the church bells begin to ring, and there is the relentless voice on the radio everywhere, urging the slaughter of all the Haitians. Operation Cabezas Haitianas (Haitian Heads) is underway, the soldiers shout, "Perejil! [Parsley!] Perish! Punish!" Haitians try to pronounce "perejil" correctly, but fail, and weep. The town is in an uproar, Adele is ordered to say "perejil" but stammers. And Pedro runs home and searches for his beloved wife, searches and searches " The characters of this book not only inspired the love and outrage of an extraordinary writer like Philoctete," writes Edwige Danticat, "but continue to challenge the meaning of community and humanity in all of us."
Linda Coverdale has translated more than sixty books. A Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, she won the 2004 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the 2006 Scott Moncrieff Prize, and the 1997 and 2008 French-American Foundation Translation Prize. She was a finalist for the 2008 French-American Foundation Translation Prize for Life Laid Bare.
Edwidge Danticat is the author of numerous critically accalimed books, including Breath, Eyes, Memory; Krik? Krak!, a National Book Award finalist, The Farming of Bones, an American Book Award winner; The Dew Breaker, a PEN/Faulkner Award finalist, and Brother, I'm Dying, winner of an NBCC award in Autobiography.
A classic Haitian novel. This virtuosic translation, by Linda Coverdale, is his first into English. Meticulousness characterizes the novel to the very end.--Abigain Deutsch