21 December 2007

Jean-Euphèle Milcé, Alphabet of the Night, 2004

After the murder of his lover on his doorstep in Port-au-Prince (“God chose this town to test out his concept of Hell”) a Jewish shop owner wonders whether exile from Haiti might be his only option, and he goes in search of a missing friend with help from a shady revolutionary and a voodoo priest. There are distinct layers of reality to life in Haiti, from the country’s long legacy of political corruption to the magically strange afterlife that pervades and influences a Haitian’s daily existence, and into this Jeremy Assaël brings his own baggage as a gay Wandering Jew. At times the plot plays a definite second fiddle to the harshness of both Assaël’s cultural history and that of everyday life in Haiti, though it picks up speed and broadens its scope towards the end in a strangely satisfying way.   PY

  Alphabet of the Night won the 2004 Prix Georges-Nicole. Milcé lives in “voluntary exile” in Switzerland.

1 comment:

Stewart said...

Having got halfway, it's good to know that it picks up toward the end. Poetically stunning thus far, but it has needed some movement, somehow