Catherine Anderson's Reviews > The Kingdom of This World

The Kingdom of This World by Alejo Carpentier
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's review
Jan 15, 2010

really liked it

Alejo Carpentier’s The Kingdom of This World offers an excellent alternative to textbook accounts of the Haitian liberation from France and its startling aftermath. Told from the point of view of a slave, Ti Noël, the novel becomes personal, emotional, and accessible to not only scholars of Latin American history but to anyone interested in the effects of uprisings on humanity in general, and more specifically, on the individual. Following Ti Noël through his shocking and occasionally horrifying (yet somehow endearing) existence, the reader begins to comprehend the Haitian liberation as not just a sudden uprising that immediately freed slaves, but rather as a series of hard-hitting historical events that merely “passed the whip” from one hand to another, sometimes transcending anticipated racial boundaries and pitting members of the same race against one another in a solidarity-destroying frenzy for power.
Don’t be scared off from Carpentier’s novel by a lack of knowledge about the topics at hand. Even if you pick up the book with nothing relevant in your archives, you’ll get something out of it. Sit back, relax, and watch as Haitian history unfolds without the intimidating density of textbook names and dates, but instead though the eyes of an everyday person.
I highly recommend this book and will probably read it again.

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