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The Kingdom of This World by Alejo Carpentier
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Jan 20, 10

Read in January, 2010

Even for newcomers to the history of Latin America and the Caribbean, such as myself, Alejo Carpentier makes his view of Haitian events and culture tangible in this novel. Carpentier brings alive the Haitian revolt - lulling readers’ minds with rhythmic Haitian expressions while painting vibrant scenes that entice the senses. Readers are exposed to a connection with nature throughout the novel that continually evokes a world beyond that of what our common eyes see in day-to-day occurrences. Through this interplay between descriptions of the realistic and of the fantastical, readers have the opportunity to engage with the circumstances of the Haitian revolt in ways usually not afforded in other accounts of it. Through weaving together the stories of several characters, Carpentier exposes readers to different threads of perspectives of those fighting for power and luxury and of those continually struggling for their freedom and basic human rights. Separating the novel into four parts, Carpentier takes the pulse of the atmosphere in each part, continually laying the groundwork for readers’ expectations of the events to come to the Haitian island in the novel.
In reading this novel, I very much enjoyed the personal discovery of a new land and the history and culture of its persevering people.
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