douard Jean. Toussaint Dirige Vers la Bataille
By Paul Anvers, translated by Carrol Coates. Editions CIDIHCA
417 Saint Pierre
Review by Bob Corbett
In the aftermath of the coup d'etat of Sept. 30, 1991, a group of Aristide supporters in the Artibonite plans armed resistance while developing peasant consciousness and support. Marlene Auguste, peasant school teachers heads up this small and unlikely revolutionary band. Jacques, a mulatto son of a wealthy Port-au-Prince businessman, is the government agronomist working with rice farmers in the Ponte Sonde region of the Artibonite.
Anvers' story is a simply one: Marlene and Jacques fall in love, playing out all the standard difficulties that would result from a romance between a city mulatto from a "proper" family and a black peasant girl. At the same time Anvers captures much of the horror of the current oppression and the both the power and futility of political resistance in Haiti today. Unfortunately the story is quite predictable and plays on all the cliches of the situation.
Despite the thinness of the plot and characters, Andvers does give the reader the chilling sense of terror in contemporary Haiti. It's worth reading to get this felt sense of living this nightmare.
Carrol F. Coates provides an easy reading translation of this short novel whose French title was: Rizieres de sang.