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AfriGeneas Books~Authors~Reviews Forum

THE RED OF HIS SHADOW ~ review

A Novel
By Mayra Montero
Translated from the Spanish
by Edith Grossman
The Ecco Press: 160 pp.,

[quoting] "The Red of His Shadow" by Cuban writer Mayra Montero is an astonishing work of the imagination. There is hardly a writer, Haitian or otherwise, who has so successfully and honestly--and without all the usual mediation and qualification and equivocation--dealt with the culturally controversial subject of Haitian vaudou (even the orthography for the term is in hot dispute: vaudou? voudou? vodou? vodun? voodoo?). This book gets you right to the heart of vaudou and doesn't water it down with any kind of helpful or instructive or redemptive Christian-influenced finale. It's not a pretty subject (what religion is, really?). Montero's book follows the rise of Zule, a Haitian vaudou priestess, from a precocious childhood on a cane-cutting plantation in the Dominican Republic (the time is now, I believe, but it might as well be 200 years ago) to her final battle with a powerful and beloved rival vaudou priest. "The Red of His Shadow" is a powerful and important book. It's a ripping read, which most books that cut across cultures are not, and the story is seductive and glorious. The ending is blunt: It may not leave you satisfied, but it will certainly shock you.
Amy Wilentz[end quoting]

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Source: The Los Angeles Times


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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