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Love, Anger, Madness: A Haitian Trilogy

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  502 ratings  ·  60 reviews
Available in English for the first time, Marie Vieux-Chauvet’s stunning trilogy of novellas is a remarkable literary event. In a brilliant translation by Rose-Myriam Réjouis and Val Vinokur, Love, Anger, Madness is a scathing response to the struggles of race, class, and sex that have ruled Haiti. Suppressed upon its initial publication in 1968, this major work became an u ...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published August 4th 2009 by Modern Library (first published 1968)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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Jim Fonseca
May 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
Here are three powerful, well-written novellas from a female Haitian author. Like most of the Haitian upper class, Marie Vieux-Chauvet (1916-1973) was a light-skinned mixed-race person educated in Haiti in the French tradition and who eventually moved to New York. All of the novellas reflect the incredible chaos, brutality and societal inequity that Haiti has undergone. Haiti is essentially an African nation in the Western Hemisphere. In 1804 the African slaves revolted and killed or drove off a ...more
The reputation of this masterpiece is truly well deserved. Three thematic and geographically linked novellas written with power and control, sentences bubbling over with violence and brutality, pain and hatred.

The arbitrariness of life under a murderous dictatorship, and the deeply ingrained divisions of race and class and gender. Choice when there is no choice. Love when it has turned bitterly in on itself, growing rank and rotten, festering in its madness and eroticism. The contradictions and
Alex Rosinski
Dec 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
Breaking the Silence
“Anger” By Marie Vieux-Chauvet. Modern Library: 2010. $15.

Marie Vieux-Chauvet’s “Anger” is truly a testament of courage and defiance amidst one of the most oppressive and violent regimes of our time. Written in Haiti during the infamous dictatorship of Francois Duvalier (also known as “Papa Doc”), “Anger” is a rare experience for American readers because it brings to life the state-sanctioned terror inflicted on Haitian people. The novella confronts remarkably one of the mos
Viv JM
This trilogy is a set of independent, unconnected novellas penned by Haitian author Marie Vieux-Chauvet. It was banned on its initial publication in the late sixties and the author was forced into exile in the United States.

LOVE tells the story of 39 year old unmarried Claire, who is the oldest of three sisters in an upper class Haitian family. She is black and her sisters are white, and she is in love with/obsessed by her youngest (and most boring) sister's French husband. It is a story of sex
Dec 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Nicolette by: Gift from Valery
Unbelievably rich with historic details of Haiti and it's political evolution. I enjoyed all three of the short stories in the compilation -- many readers did not enjoy the third -- "Madness". I suppose working with a population with psychiatric issues has made me more open to "madness".

The stories explained even more the psyche of the past and current residents and what it took and takes for them to survive while remaining resilient.

The sexual degradation of women and the battering of their b
quite a number of people on goodreads have described this book as a book of short stories. it is not...stories that are over 100 pages long are not short stories, they are novellas. So this is a book consisting of three novellas, all written about Haiti. the author lived in Haiti, but was forced into exile in Paris after writing this book as it is quite disparaging of the Haiti surprise there.

all 3 novellas are written brilliantly and are quite independent of each other. I must s
Katy M
Sep 07, 2019 rated it liked it
2019 Pop Sugar Reading challenge-a book with love in the title.

I didn't care for Love at all. I wasn't sure if we were supposed to be rooting for the main character, but she was just awful. And as an old maid, I felt offended by our portrayal:)

Anger was pretty good. The anger the entire family felt towards each other and those taking over the county was realistic and well-portayed.

Madness was also good but a little hard to read. I wasn't sure what was real and what wasn't.

They were all very wel
Nov 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Originally published in 1969, during Papa Doc's brutal and vindictive regime, where anyone showing signs of disapproval of his rule might be disappeared or suffer the wrath of his Tontons Macoutes (local militias made up of lower class citizens with axes to grind), Marie Vieux-Chauvet's husband apparently was so afraid of what this book would bring down upon their heads that he bought up all the copies available in Haiti. Her daughter did the same for the remaining copies selling in France. I wo ...more
Pamela J
Banned in Haiti under the Duvalier regime, this book's scathing criticism of the Duvalier reign of terror resulted in Chauvet's exile. I seem to think I acquired the original French text from the Denver Public Library back in grad school. When I saw that it was back in publication and in English, I knew I must read it again.

You can find a smattering of reviews that explicate the books triptych structure. But nothing prepares you for the palpable terror, turmoil, and pending madness that beset th
Mar 02, 2012 rated it liked it
A trilogy of novellas, all powerfully written, about the devastating personal effects of racial and class politics in Haiti, its historical cycles of violence and retribution, and its brutal corruption. I much preferred the first two ("Love" and "Anger" which I'd rate 4/5) to the fevered surreality of the third ("Madness"), which felt less finished. The dark-skinned female narrator of "Love," with her frustrated desires and awakening sense of self, is particularly striking. The author, Marie Vie ...more
Jun 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Page 156 marks the end of Love, the first novella in this trilogy about Haiti after the end of the American occupation. It's part History lesson, part glimpse into the sad life of a very strong woman. For very personal reasons, I identified very much with the character of Claire; much more, I think, that I have with any other literary character I've encountered. Told in diary entries by Claire, Love is heart-breaking in its revelation of Claire's turmoil, and eye-opening in the crude retelling o ...more
I can't say I enjoyed it, but I do appreciate the fact that this piece of literature exists. The three novellas show Vieux-Chauvet's incredible talent as a writer with each being distinctly different. My favorite is the first. It is wonderful to get into Claire's head. Although supposedly set in the late 1930's, this book paints a terrible portrait of US controlled Haiti under the Papa and Baby Doc regime. ...more
Apr 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I read this in the original French and found it incredibly moving. All of the major issues that shape life in contemporary Haiti are here. I highly, highly recommend it. In fact, I'm excited it's now available in English so I can possibly teach it in a world literature in translation class someday. ...more
Nov 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I love love love this book. Vieux-Chauvet masterfully paints the complex nature of Haitian women in the oppressive Duvalier/early 20th century Haiti. At times both stark and dreary, both strange and endearing, the novellas are at once honest and true and stands as a confident affirmation of the character of perseverance in a terribly oppressive society.
Apr 06, 2010 rated it it was ok
I generally liked the book when there was dialogue between the characters; however, there was just way too much inner angst expressed throughout the narration. I suppose I should have expected that, given the title. I found the book tedious to finish and ended up stopping with just 40 pages to go.
Oct 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Translated by my friends Rose and Val.
The three novellas in this book look at Haitian families of different social standings. Each novella evokes the emotions of its title. Vieux-Chauvet does a fabulous job of creating the emotions, and the reader can feel what each character feels. Love, Anger, Madness.

Love looks at the three adult daughters who live in their late parents' large stately home. Claire, the oldest, is the darkest (darker than either parent) and is an old maid and the housekeeper/house manager. She has never managed to
Jul 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Because Goodreads does not have a draft function, this review is on the first novella, "Love." It is a story of unrequited love, both beautiful, and unbearable, told in the first-person by the main character, Claire. Claire and her two sisters come from the upper class in a small, provincial town in Haiti under the Duvalier regime. Their parents own a plantation where they grow and produce coffee. Not having any sons, Claire's father raised Claire, his oldest daughter, in his own words, "like a ...more
Mar 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: globalread
Global Read Challenge 86: Haiti

This is an incredible book. I can't believe I hadn't heard of it. The stories are powerful and haunting and the author & book's life are also impressive. I had to read it a little bit at a time because it is dark and violent. Like many reviewers I had some trouble with the Madness section (the only thing keeping this book from a 5) but it might have been that I was feeling so battered by the Anger section.
May 26, 2021 rated it liked it
I was fascinated by the history covered in this book, although I was a little disappointed in the writing after all of the rave reviews I had read. I sometimes wondered if the translators captured the meaning but didn't accurately capture the writer's style (using "kid" instead of "child").

Overall, a very interesting view of people living through the complicated, violent and tragic history of Haiti.
Julie Tulba
Mar 06, 2017 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the first novella the most.
Pamela Perry
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: poc, women
Each section felt a little long and at times repetitive, but otherwise very good and at times heartbreaking.
Michael C.
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gripping account in 3 different stories of the intense terror, exploitation, and deprivation found in Haiti.
Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Exceptionally well written. The stories are dark reflecting the time that Vieux-Chauvet lived and wrote. It was hard to read all at once. I had to take a break between the 2nd and 3rd novellas.
Jen Parenti
Jul 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
Love 4.25/5 ⭐️
Anger 3.5/5 ⭐️
Madness 2/5 ⭐️
Sep 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Apr 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In 1968 Haiti had been under the regime of the self-proclaimed “president for life,” François Duvalier (Papa Doc) for eleven years. The once country doctor now had the pulse of the entire country under his commanding finger. With the help of his “tonton,” Duvalier had suppressed any notion or attempt of critique or opposition. In the midst of such fierce dictatorship that left Haiti’s poor-class still economically devastated and a bourgeois class under constant threat Marie Vieux-Chavuet, a writ ...more
Nov 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french, read-for-uni, 2020
I read the section,Folie for a module on Contemporary Caribbean Culture. I'm not fluent in French, but I found this book really compelling. The atmosphere of madness and fear was so strong and I couldn't quite tell what was real and what wasn't. I liked the way the reader could follow the winding, confused thought process of René (the main character) - the repetitions, the returns to themes, the unreliable truths. And the switch to a play format for a large section of the second part was a reall ...more
Oct 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Second Haitian author. (Edwidge Danticat being my first). I'll admit ignorance when it comes to Haiti, other than people of Haiti have a hard time...with government with natural general. so I'll assume this has a lot of historical tidbits in it that made the book that much better.

I was confused as to whom Claire killed in Love. I thought the bitch killed a cat (Yes, the bitch. Why? Because I am a cat lady, so i hate to even read abuse of cats, or any animal for that fact. Wanted t
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Marie Vieux-Chauvet (1916–1973) was a Haitian novelist, poet and playwright. Born and educated in Port-au-Prince, her most famous works are the novels Fille d'Haïti (1954), La Danse sur le Volcan (1957), Fonds des Nègres (1961), and Amour, Colère, Folie (1968).

(from Wikipedia)

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