Crossing the Mangrove by Maryse Conde

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In this beautifully crafted, Rashomon-like novel, Maryse Conde has written a gripping story imbued with all the nuances and traditions of Caribbean culture. Francis Sancher--a handsome outsider, loved by some and reviled by others--is found dead, face down in the mud on a path outside Riviere au Sel, a small village in Guadeloupe.  None of the villagers are particularly surprised, since Sancher, a secretive and melancholy man, had often predicted an unnatural death for himself.  As the villagers come to pay their respects they each--either in a speech to the mourners, or in an internal monologue--reveal another piece of the mystery behind Sancher's life and death.  Like pieces of an elaborate puzzle, their memories interlock to create a rich and intriguing portrait of a man and a community. In the lush and vivid prose for which she has become famous, Conde has constructed a Guadeloupean wake for Francis Sancher.  Retaining the full color and vibrance of Conde's homeland, Crossing the Mangrove pays homage to Guadeloupe in both subject and structure.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About Maryse Conde

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Maryse Condé is the award-winning author of twelve novels, including Crossing the Mangrove, Segu, Who Slashed Celanire's Throat?, and I, Tituba: Black Witch of Salem. She lives in New York and Montebello, Guadeloupe.
Published March 2, 2011 by Anchor. 207 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction

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Francis makes few real attachments in the community--even his affairs with Mira and Vilma are virtually one-night stands--because of his imminent death, which he waits and watches for almost eagerly.

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Publishers Weekly

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Conde's unconventional narrative, in which disparate voices take turns mourning or celebrating Sancher, paradoxically risks seeming formulaic, and many of her transitions are self-consciously abrupt, but this rich web of lives has a lush, trembling beauty that seems nearly ready, by the end of th...

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