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The Kingdom of this World by Alejo…

The Kingdom of this World (1949)

by Alejo Carpentier

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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5931216,560 (3.82)46
  1. 00
    La Pyramide by Ismail Kadare (wandering_star)
    wandering_star: The scene with the building of the Citadelle in Carpentier's work reminded me very much of the building of the Pyramid.

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» See also 46 mentions

English (9)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (1)  All languages (12)
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
El Reino de Este Mundo es una descripción muy artística sobre la liberación de un pueblo de esclavos, que trascendió a la historia, Haití. Aquí en una forma mágico religiosa, el autor describe de forma muy cruda escenas de violencia por las acciones del vudú Africano presente en la pequeña isla, en uno de los personajes que se transformaba en animales diversos y que en conjuros envenenó a todo un pueblo.

Este libro también nos narra la cruda realidad que se da cuando un pueblo que estuvo oprimido por la violencia y la injusticia donde unos pocos se beneficiaban de todo y la gran mayoría era despreciada, las cosas se vuelcan de manera súbita y extraña cuando ese individuo oprimido pasa a liderar se vuelve victima de lo que sufrió y en esa misma forma gobierna al nuevo pueblo libre.

El Sr. Carpentier nos mostró como se dan los reinados de este mundo fatal del hombre que todo lo impone, eso nos toca vivir en el reinado de este mundo. ( )
  Pamelangeles | Jul 3, 2014 |
It was a short read. ( )
  Kirmuriel | Sep 19, 2013 |
To be paired up with [b:Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution|69835|Avengers of the New World The Story of the Haitian Revolution|Laurent Dubois|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1170713032s/69835.jpg|67662].
  beabatllori | Apr 2, 2013 |
Amazing how he managed to squeeze such a story into so short a book. Beautiful, yet brutal & tragic also. ( )
  K_Fox | Nov 22, 2012 |
I read this deceptively simple novel about the Haitian revolution, the first and only time enslaved Africans liberated themselves in the Americas, and its aftermath in almost one setting. Through the eyes of Ti Noël, who is a young slave at the beginning and an old free man at the end, and with lush but spare prose, Carpentier portrays a period of great harshness and turmoil, from the period of slavery through revolution and upheaval to the reign of Henri Christophe who effectively re-enslaved the people and to his overthrow and beyond.

The reader first meets Ti Noël as he picks a new stallion for a his master, a horse bought for breeding, and then accompanies his master to a barber, staying outside and observing wax heads with wigs in the barber's windows and skinned calves' heads in a neighboring shop. What a preview of some of the themes of this novel in just the first two pages: sex and violence, and the interactions of animals with humans. Needless to say, although Ti Noël's master, a French plantation owner, respects his skill in selecting horses, he considers him a work animal, just like the horses.

Soon, Ti Noël is working with Macandal, a slave who remembers and tells others about the wonders of former African kingdoms (the Africans enslaved in Haiti come from a variety of places and a variety of tribes) and the powerful gods there. After a horrific accident in which he loses an arm, Macandal flees to the mountains where the plot is set in motion: he gathers plants, both healing and poisonous, studies with a witch, and secretly plots with slaves on plantations around the country. And so the revolution begins.

For the most part, there are few historical characters in this novel, with the exception of Henri Christophe, who later crowns himself the first king in the western hemisphere, forces Haitians with cudgels and whips and overseers to build his palaces and his supposedly impregnable citadel high in the mountain clouds, and emulates Europeans until he recognizes the powers of the African gods, transmuted into voodoo, just before his death. Nevertheless, Carpentier's research into Haiti, his imagination, and above all his gorgeous writing bring to life Ti Noël, Macandal, and the other fictional characters, the often harsh but nevertheless beautiful landscape of Haiti, the vivid reality of the the African gods, the barbaric treatment of the slaves and attitudes of their owners, the sexual sleaziness of some of the French, and the thrill and horror of the revolt. Not all is "real" in this book: one of the characters, when burned at the stake, transforms himself into a variety of animal forms and lives on in the Kingdom of This World, for example. But this is so interwoven int the novel that the reader, at least this one, accepts it.

To cover a span of probably 40 years in less then 200 pages in a way that seems full and complete is remarkable enough. To do so in such a vivid, entrancing, compelling, and complex way is Carpentier's gift.
8 vote rebeccanyc | Feb 6, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alejo Carpentierprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Danticat, EdwidgeIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
de Onis, HarrietTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
栄一, 木村Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
渡, 平田Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Of the twenty stallions brought to Cap Francais by the ship's captain, who had a kind of partnership with the breeder in Normandy, Ti Noel and unhesitatingly picked that stud with the four white feet and rounded crupper which promised good service for mares whose colts were coming smaller each year.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374530114, Paperback)

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 a slave in Grenada but rose to become the first black king in the Western Hemisphere. In prose of often dreamlike coloration and intensity, Alejo Carpentier records the destruction of the black regime—built on the same corruption and contempt for human life that brought down the French while embodying the same hollow grandeur of false elegance, attained only through slave labor—in an orgy of voodoo, race hatred, madness, and erotomania.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:36:47 -0400)

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