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The Kingdom of this World by Alejo…
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The Kingdom of this World (1949)

by Alejo Carpentier

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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6641514,446 (3.75)69
  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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English (12)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (1)  All (15)
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Book Description
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 15built 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 15in an orgy of voodoo, race hatred, madness, and erotomania.

My Review
This was an interesting magical realism story about the history of Haiti. It was a short easy to read book with beautiful prose depicting striking images of racial strife, class wars and the survival and redemption of the Haitian slaves. I would recommend this book if you are interested in historical fiction and the Haitian history. ( )
  EadieB | Jan 19, 2016 |
This was an interesting magical realism story about the history of Haiti. It was a short easy to read book with beautiful prose depicting striking images of racial strife, class wars and the survival and redemption of the Haitian slaves. I would recommend this book if you are interested in historical fiction and the Haitian history. ( )
  EadieB | Jan 19, 2016 |
Alejo Carpentier was a political radical who had to spend quite a bit of his life in exile outside Cuba, but his project in writing about Haiti was more aesthetic than directly political. He was keen to contribute to the development of a specifically Latin American literature, reflecting his view that the American view of the world differed from traditional European views because of the role of collective belief (both indigenous and arising from African-derived ideas like Santeria and Voudou), which could create a kind of objective reality for fantastic events (lo real maravilloso). For him the key thing about the Haitian revolution thus seems to be the interaction between political and mythical elements in shaping the awareness of the people. He was clearly also influenced very heavily by his recollections of some of the sites he visited on his famous trip to Haiti in 1943, especially Henri-Christophe's palace and fort. Instead of a linear account of the events, we get a fragmented, impressionistic view, where we see a few key incidents from the points of view of relatively unimportant characters, giving Carpentier the possibility to abstract and generalise in a way that wouldn't be possible in a classic non-fiction account or a traditional historical novel. The result is very interesting and colourful, and it seems to achieve what Carpentier intended, but of course it lacks one of the important things you normally look for in a historical novel, the opportunity to identify with the characters. ( )
  thorold | Dec 29, 2015 |
In the forward, Edwidge Danticat says "Alejo Carpentier allows us to consider the possibility - something which his own Cuba would later grapple with - that a revolution that some consider visionary might appear to others to have failed." And so it is that a successful slave rebellion against French colonial rule leads to a brief but brutal regime led by a former slave, which in the end, leads to the emergence of mulattoes as the ruling class. Carpentier blends magical realism with historical events in a believable way and takes the reader to the darker side of Haiti.

Macandal had not foreseen this matter of forced labor. Nor had Bouckman, the Jamaican. The ascendancy of the mulattoes was something new that had not occurred to Jose Antonio Aponte, beheaded by the Marquis of Someruelos, whose record of rebellion Ti Noel had learned of during his slave days in Cuba. Not even Henri Christophe would have suspected that the land of Santo Domingo would bring forth this spurious aristocracy, this caste of quadroons, which was now taking over the old plantations, with their privileges and rank.

Try as he would, Ti Noel could think of no way to help his subjects bowed once again beneath the whiplash. The old man began to lose heart at this endless return of chains, this rebirth of shackles, this proliferation of suffering, which the more resigned began to accept as proof of the uselessness of all revolt.
( )
  nittnut | Feb 16, 2015 |
It was a short read. ( )
  Kirmuriel | Sep 19, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alejo Carpentierprimary authorall editionscalculated
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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:40 -0400)

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