"The sights and sounds of Haiti’s vibrant carnival season invigorate this tale of vodou and Haitian culture. . .The truth of Hadriana’s fate proves more poignant than horrifying, but in Depestre’s hands, this incident is a touchstone of a culture in which distinctions between the empirical and spiritual are obscured, and whose traditional celebrations and beliefs introduce an element of the mythic into the everyday. Eroticism and humor course through his narrative. Depestre’s intimacy with his subject matter and his familiarity with the people he portrays―the story is set in his hometown, at the time when he was 12 years old―give readers an insider’s look at Jacmelian culture."
"For the first time, this slim and beguiling novel about the mysterious death and possible zombification of a young woman on her wedding day has been translated into English...With its lyrical commentary on the origins of myth, this mesmeric and frequently erotic work transcends its focus on a young woman to address the complexities of race, class and religion."
―Shelf Awareness for Readers, Starred Review
With a foreword by Edwidge Danticat. Translated from the French by Kaiama L. Glover.
Hadriana in All My Dreams, winner of the prestigious Prix Renaudot, takes place primarily during Carnival in 1938 in the Haitian village of Jacmel. A beautiful young French woman, Hadriana, is about to marry a Haitian boy from a prominent family. But on the morning of the wedding, Hadriana drinks a mysterious potion and collapses at the altar. Transformed into a zombie, her wedding becomes her funeral. She is buried by the town, revived by an evil sorcerer, and then disappears into popular legend.
Set against a backdrop of magic and eroticism, and recounted with delirious humor, the novel raises universal questions about race and sexuality. The reader comes away enchanted by the marvelous reality of Haiti's Vodou culture and convinced of Depestre's lusty claim that all beings―even the undead ones―have a right to happiness and true love.
Hadriana in All My Dreams
Depestre, René (Author), Danticat, Edwidge (Foreword by), Glover, Kaiama L (Translator)