Mercure de France
Number of pages
***Translation sample available***
The Creole culture of Haiti and daily life under dictatorship are at the heart of Kettly Mars’s third novel, Saisons Sauvages.
It is 1963 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, a few months before François “Papa Doc” Duvalier declared himself president for life. Daniel Leroy, the editor-in-chief of the opposition newspaper, has been kidnapped by the secret police, commonly called the Tonton Macoutes. His wife, Nirvah, the mother of his two young children, is desperate for news of her husband. She has knocked on every possible door when, as a last resort, she goes to the secretary of the interior, Raoul Vincent, the man in charge of the repression of political opponents. This humiliating meeting between the former poor black boy, who became the strong man of the regime, and the beautiful bourgeois mulatto woman, doesn’t bring any results for Daniel’s case. But for Raoul Vincent, Nirvah represents everything that was forbidden to him while he was growing up, and he has to have her now.
Nirvah has no desire for Raoul—yet she needs protection and she has no other hope in these impossible times. She convinces herself that sharing a bed with Raoul will benefit her children—and perhaps will help her see her husband again. Does she have a choice? She plays the ugly game but soon finds herself entangled in a net of conflicting demands, and the trap she has walked into becomes deeper and more complex.
Set within the surreal and disturbing context of an arbitrary dictatorship, Saisons Sauvages is not just the story of a woman torn between right and wrong. The extracts of Daniel’s diary within the novel offer a critical reading of the class system and corruption that plagued Haiti during the Duvalier years.
Kettly Mars was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where she still lives. She is the author of several collections of short stories, poetry, and novels, and her works have been translated into Danish, English, Japanese, and Italian. Her first novel, Kasalé (Imprimeur II, 2003), was excerpted in Bomb Magazine.
Kettly Mars : Kettly Mars was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where she still lives. She is the author of several collections of short stories, poetry, and novels, and her works have been translated into Danish, English, Japanese, and Italian. Her first novel, Kasalé (Imprimeur II, 2003), was excerpted in Bomb Magazine.