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El reino de este mundo

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  2,062 ratings  ·  188 reviews
El reino de este mundo, novela pionera del realismo magico, explora los origenes de la independencia haitiana, en una America donde lo magico es cotidiano y real

Inspirado por la extraordinaria historia original y valido de su admirable poder narrativo, Alejo Carpentier es artifice de un relato alucinante e incomparable que recrea los acontecimientos que precedieron a la in
Paperback, 169 pages
Published January 6th 2009 by Rayo (first published 1949)
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a brilliant and tragic novella about the Haitian liberation from French rule and the government which follows as seen through the eyes of Ti-Noel, a slave. along with mariano azuela's the underdogs i cannot think of a book that more effectively illustrates the final words of orwell's animal farm:

"No question now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was
Jeff Jackson
Violent slave uprisings, the reign of the first black king of Haiti, the perverse twilight of European decadence, and the pervasive role of voodoo - all recounted in a lush and sensory prose style that was clearly the inspiration for Gabriel Garcia Marquez's own sentences. Written in 1949, "The Kingdom of this World" is also the precursor of the Latin American literary boom in general.

A book about animism, it's narrated from the inside-out, skipping between consciousnesses and spanning years wi
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
Haiti. A slave revolt. The end of the French rule. The first Negro king. His overthrow. Slaves deposing masters, becoming new masters with their own slaves, then being thrown out themselves. "This endless return of chains, this rebirth of shackles, this proliferation of suffering, (this) proof of the uselessness of all revolt."

The language is laconic, desert-like and strange. Of legends and lore, superstitions, magical powers, numbing brutality, sex, alien names and places.

And a typo, towards th
My plan for the month is to read everything he's written. I bought this five hours ago and have read it twice.
Extraordinary. This is the book where Carpentier is credited with introducing the concept of "Magical Realism" (His actual term was "real marvelloso"). The book covers the history of Haiti from Macandal's uprising through the revolution that tossed out the French, to Henri Christophe's brutal regime and the building of his fortress that never fired a shot, to his downfall and the rise of the next brand of tyranny. The story is narrated through a few characters, but primarily through an ancient ( ...more
Interesting and beautiful. Not my cup of tea though.

By the way, since the distortedness of book and movie blurbs is a pet peeve of mine, let me reflect a bit on the racist boiler-plate pap that appears in the blurb above and (in a slightly different version) on the cover of my edition of the book. Here it is:

"A few years after its liberation from the brutality of French colonial rule in 1803, Haiti endured a period of even greater brutality under the reign of King Henri-Christophe, who was born
Zoe Brooks
This review first appeared on the magic realism blog -

This is arguably the book that launched Latin American magic realism. First published in 1949, the book opens with a prologue which sets out to distinguish what the Cuban author calls the "marvellous reality" of Latin America from the surrealist marvellous of Europe: But what many forget, in disguising themselves as cheap magicians, is that the marvellous becomes unequivocally marvellous when it arises
The Kingdom of This World is truly a must-read for anyone even remotely interested in Haiti. Alejo Carpentier’s vivid descriptions bring Haiti to life and acknowledge both the hardship and success its people have experienced for more than three hundred years. Perhaps most noteably, the novel offers a sharp contrast to many non-Haitian people’s notion that Haiti is simply another unimportant, undeveloped, Third World country and celebrates all that Haiti has overcome and its journey toward a bett ...more
Brad Harder
There's no doubt that Carpentier's novel, "The Kingdom of This World," is a masterful exercise in story-telling. His construction of a free indirect third person narrator allows him to leverage a reader's sympathy for Ti Noël's experiences while also providing Carpentier with the freedom to move to other characters' perspectives throughout the novel. His inclusion of multiple viewpoints speaks to the heterogeneous complexity of Haiti's evolving identity during this time period and it also dramat ...more
For a "literature and politics" class. Looking forward to it...

hyperviolent, blazingly paced, surreal, satirically grotesque, oeneric gallows humor elaborately detailed with its almost breathless nightmare of vision. It reminds me of the old canard about the monster of revolution eating its children, almost as if by natural law. The story of Haiti, in Carpentier's eyes, seems to match up with that rather grim proclamation.

They say this is one of the forerunner of magical realism, and it's not h
Austin Frank
Jan 26, 2015 Austin Frank rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Austin by: Washington & Lee University
In his novel "The Kingdom of This World," Cuban novelist Alejo Carpentier paints beautiful images of colonial Haiti that are tinged with his signature use of magical realism and flowery language that makes him such a master of this style and a pioneer of one of Latin America's most signature genres. This novel delves into some of Latin America's most difficult social questions and explores some of the colonial history of Haiti. Carpentier's discussion of cultural diversity and the struggle for p ...more
Mary Virginia
The Kingdom of This World is an incredibly captivating read, focusing on the struggles of Haitian independence. The reader experiences the Haitian Revolution through the perspective of a rather obscure slave named Ti Noel. In this sense, the story truly captures the essence of struggle, as the reader understands the revolution from the eyes of the slave. Through Carpentier’s vivid words and use of magic realism, the reader becomes entirely engrossed in the novel—it’s almost as if you are living ...more
Kassie Scott
Jan 25, 2015 Kassie Scott rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kassie by: Washington and Lee University
While the emotional detachment with which Carpentier presents the novel is necessary, it diminishes the impact just the same. I found myself longing to suffer with the protagonist, Ti Noël. Only after abandoning the didactic nature of intellectual fallacies was I able to appreciate Carpentier's "real maravilloso" style.

In failing to evoke deep sympathy for his characters, Carpentier succeeds. Not only does Carpentier respect his characters by refusing to present them as weak and conquered, he a
Jan 18, 2015 Sally rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sally by: Washington and Lee University LACS 256
Carpentier's The Kingdom of this World traces the history of the Hatian revolution and the construction of a new nation through the eyes of Ti Noel, a Hatian man who witnessed an experienced it all. By using Ti Noel as his style for portraying the Hatian revolution, Carpentier manages to bring warmth, culture, and personality into his version of this event in history. Carpentier manages to also incorporate nature as a major motif throughout this novel, in compliance with nature's central role in ...more
Giles Geddes
Overall I truly enjoyed The Kingdom of This World. I found the narrative organization to be somewhat disconnected but nonetheless enthralling. The author’s use of ‘the marvelous real’ was captivating in that it added an extra dimension that made the novel just that much harder to put down. The character of Ti Noel, thought to be a dumb illiterate slave, was the author's vehicle for demonstrating insight and offering social commentary on the slave uprising that eventually led to the Haitian revol ...more
Sixto Ortiz
Excelente novela. Carpentier a través de su prosa nos lleva por Haití en los años de mucha inestabilidad política. Con su técnica denominada como lo "real-maravilloso" describe escenarios únicos en esta isla caribeña con un toque sobre-natural o místico (similar al realismo mágico). A través de la novela hay muchas referencias a los "orishas" y el "voodoo" y sobre todo una presencia constante de la música. Realmente fue una experiencia gratificante leer su prosa y sobre todo pude aprender un poc ...more
Walking, walking, up and down, down and up, the Negro began to think that the chamber music orchestras of San Souci, the splendor of the uniforms, and the statues of naked white women soaking up the sun on their scrolled pedestals among the sculptured boxwood hedging the flowerbeds were all the product of a slavery as abominable as that he had known on the plantation of M. Lenormand de Mézy. Even worse, for there was a limitless affront in being beaten by a Negro as black as oneself, as thick-li ...more
Jocelyn Cassada
In the Kingdom of This World, Alejo Carpentier narrates the experience of the Haitian Revolution from the standpoint of an ordinary slave. I thought the novel was a fascinating account of the events surrounding the Revolution in Haiti and Carpentier really brings to life Haitian culture and traditions. I thought that the author's writing style was beautiful and lyrical, but I did find parts of the novel to be somewhat fragmented. For example, I am still struggling to understand how Pauline Bonap ...more
Ellison Johnstone
Overall, this novel is a very captivating read. It contains immense historical value as it is extremely enlightening on the subject of the struggles in Haiti for true independence. The details of the storyline can become slightly confusing at times, but these details are really irrelevant as long as you can grasp the main idea that these uprisings will continue and corruption and greed will follow no matter who takes over control. In addition to the historical aspects of the novel, I found the c ...more
Sajal M Shrestha
The tragedy of human existence is that it comprises of never ending struggles. From the moment we are conceived, the struggle to stay alive and to fulfill our wants is constant. Similar is the story told by Carpentier in The Kingdom of This World. On one hand, Carpentier beautifully mixes the turbulent history of Haiti with magical realism to explain the slave uprising. On a deeper level, Carpentier touches on the theme of constant cycle of repression and revolution, of greed and downfall, as pe ...more
The Kingdom of this World is a novel written by Nobel Prize Winner, Alejo Carpentier. Although this work of art is considered a fictional novel, it contains important historical elements. The book describes Haitians’ struggle for their independence before, during, and after the Haitian Revolution from the perspective of a slave- Ti Noel. By describing vivid imagines, incorporating excerpts in Creole language, and including real life people from Haitian history, Carpentier takes us through the ma ...more
Claire Rasberry
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, even more than the first time I read it a year ago. What I especially enjoyed about the novel this time was that I paid close attention to the musical references throughout, which made the worlds of pre- and post-revolutionary Haiti, Cuba, and Italy come alive for me as a reader. Through the conch shell horns that signaled the official beginning of the revolution, the drum beats that signaled the end of Henry Christophe's tyrannical reign, the Hymn of St. Louis an ...more
In short, I thoroughly enjoyed Carpentier's "Kingdom of this World". His success in developing images is tantamount to his achievements in weaving the magical with the real. For me, these magical images were the driving force of the book in lieu of relatively untraditional and lacking narrative structure. As I mentioned, I believe the power of this book to be in the images, but an element unique to Carpentier I found was his ability to present a believable image without being longwinded. He is a ...more
Beau Craparo
Alejo Carpentier uses his novel The Kingdom of This World to warn Cuban citizens about the risks involved with overthrowing the government. Carpentier describes the fictional life of Ti Noel, a slave who takes part in the Haitian Revolution, to help warn his countrymen about how revolutionary leaders can abandon their promises of a better life for the average citizen in order to achieve greater personal glory and wealth. His writing shows that people must have realistic expectations for the fut ...more
El reino de este mundo is peculiar for various reasons. Its brevity and attention to historical circumstances make it rather more an historical novella than a novel, for one. For another, it's a rare example of a work of Spanish American fiction that indexes for its inspiration the events of the revolutions of Haiti (against France) and Haitian slaves (against landowners). Even within the oeuvre of Alejo Carpentier, one of world literature's fundamental twentieth-century writers, arguably just a ...more
Kahena Joubert

The Kingdom of This World by Alejo Carpentier is a novel filled with riveting images and metaphors relating to the Haitian liberation from France. The novel provides an interesting perspective on the Haitian Revolution as it accurately portrays history leaving out the boring dates and text that normally causes a reader to lose interest in a work. Here, Carpentier presents Haitian history though the life of Ti Noel, the one character present in all four parts of the book. Carpentier’s book is div
Me gusta la prosa de Carpentier, evocadora de la exuberancia del Caribe. Hace ya años que he leído 'El siglo de las luces' y 'Los pasos perdidos', novelas que en mi memoria son superiores a esta 'El reino de este mundo', pero la sensación al acometer sus primeros párrafos fue la de reencuentro, de reconocimiento de un autor magistral.
En la novela se narra una de esas 'epopeyas desconocidas' que jalonan la Historia y que en la energía de su comienzo parecen capaces de marcar un nuevo destino para
Candace Bethea
Alejo Carpentier's The Kingdom of This World follows the lifespan of Ti Noel, a Haitian man witness to slavery, rebellion, revolution, and violence in the land that he loves. This story of the Haitian revolution connects the colonial ways of the New World to the natural, passionate ways that the Haitians embraced. Carpentier’s makes his work memorable by creating passionate images and using powerful emotions in his characters to evoke a feeling of restlessness in the reader. The way that Carpent ...more
Johan Garcia
The Kingdom of This World is an intriguing account of local story but one who that is not confined to the parameters of locality or region. The Haitian Revolution is witnessed through the eyes of Ti Noël, a slave who endures the pain of never-ending oppression, first under the French colonial rule and then under the unforgiving hand of Henri Christophe. With vivid accounts, painted with Voodoo chants and magic realism, the reader observes a struggle for freedom and peace amidst an overwhelming o ...more
Mary Elizabeth
Alejo Carpentier’s The Kingdom of this World introduces the reader to the world of Latin American literature and culture while retaining a sense of global connectivity. Immediately the reader is drawn in before reading a page, when confronted with questions about what “kingdom” and what “world” is referred to by the title. I think the reader is continuously confronted with these questions through to the last page. While Carpentier is telling the story of the Haitian experience, he is able to ill ...more
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W&L LACS 256 2015: Discussion Topic: KINGDOM OF THIS WORLD 1 9 Jan 14, 2015 09:40AM  
  • Paradiso
  • I, the Supreme
  • Sab
  • Three Trapped Tigers
  • The President
  • La guaracha del Macho Camacho
  • Singing from the Well
  • All Souls' Rising
  • Lands of Memory
  • Terra Nostra
  • A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies
  • El astillero
  • An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter
  • The Complete Poetry
  • Headlong Hall
  • Doña Bárbara
  • El gesticulador
  • This Sporting Life
Cuban novelist, essayist, and musicologist who greatly influenced Latin American literature during its "boom" period.

Perhaps Cuba's most important intellectual figure of the twentieth century, Alejo Carpentier (1904-1980) was a novelist, a classically trained pianist and musicologist, a producer of avant-garde radio programming, and an influential theorist of politics and literature. Best known f
More about Alejo Carpentier...
The Lost Steps El siglo de las luces Concierto barroco (Biblioteca Juvenil) Viaje a la semilla El arpa y la sombra

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“Now he understood that a man never knows for whom he suffers and hopes. He suffers and hopes and toils for people he will never know, and who, in turn, will suffer and hope and toil for others who will not be happy either, for man always seeks a happiness far beyond that which is meted out to him. But man's greatness consists in the very fact of wanting to be better than he is. In laying duties upon himself. In the Kingdom of Heaven there is no grandeur to be won, inasmuch as there all is an established hierarchy, the unknown is revealed, existence is infinite, there is no possibility of sacrifice, all is rest and joy. For this reason, bowed down by suffering and duties, beautiful in the midst of his misery, capable of loving in the face of afflictions and trials, man finds his greatness, his fullest measure, only in the Kingdom of this World.” 15 likes
“In the Kingdom of Heaven, there is no grandeur to be won, inasmuch as there all is an established hierarchy, the unknown is revealed, existence is infinite, there is no possibility of sacrifice, all is rest and joy. For this reason, bowed down by suffering and duties, beautiful in the midst of his misery, capable of loving in the face of afflictions and trials, man finds his greatness, his fullest measure, only in The Kingdom of This World.” 8 likes
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