Maryse Condé

Crossing the Mangrove
  • Crossing the Mangrove

  • 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. No one is 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 reveal another piece of the mystery behind his 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. A beautifully crafted, Rashomon-like novel, this gripping story, first published in France in 1989, is imbued with all the nuances and traditions of Caribbean culture.

Maryse Condé was born at Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe, in 1937 and spent most of her life in West Africa (Guinea, Ghana and Senegal), France and the US, where she taught at the University of California, Berkeley, UCLA and Columbia. The publication of her bestselling third novel, Segu (1984), established her pre-eminent position among Caribbean writers. She won Le Grand Prix Littéraire de la Femme in 1986 as well as Le Prix de L'Académie Française in 1988 and was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize in 2015. In 2018 she was awarded the alternative Nobel prize for literature and described as 'grand storyteller who belongs to world literature'.

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