***Translation sample by Linda Coverdale available***
***Excerpt featured in Words Without Borders***
***Short-listed for the 2011 Prix Goncourt***
***Recipient of the 2011 Grand Prix du Roman Métis***
That day the sea had been more generous than usual, and the fishermen had caught such a bounty of bonito and rock lobsters that in the village that evening, after they'd hauled up their boats and reassured their womenfolk, they had passed the time with sea shanties and gazing up at the constellations, they never noticed the flames of the fire. No one in the living memory of the village had ever enjoyed a better night or morning, and if not for their pleasurable memories of supper and kisses, the men might have thought they'd been dreaming.
—From Beautiful Human Love
So begins this tale of Anaïse, a young foreigner who journeys to that sleepy Haitian village of Anse-à-Fôleur twenty years later seeking the truth about her grandfather, who died in that mysterious fire, and his son, the father Anaïse has never known, who vanished the next morning. Our first narrator is Thomas, a native of the seaside village, whose haunting monologue evokes the corruption of a peaceful community by powerful and predatory outsiders. As Thomas drives the dozing Anaïse in his taxi from bustling Port-au-Prince to the placid welcome of Anse-à-Fôleur, he gently prepares his charge for the challenge of the enigma that awaits her in a countryside of almost magical otherworldliness. When Anaïse herself takes up her story, she discovers that her true inheritance is a long-lost miracle of beautiful human love, and she realizes that the fate of her grandfather, whose cruelty has passed through the refining fire of death, is no longer important, for when a man's hour comes, the only question that matters is, Did I make noble use of my presence in this world?
In prose both supple and seductive, Lyonel Trouillot gives us a daring, wise, and tender exploration of the human heart, caught forever in the struggle between good and evil.