Kreyolicious Reads…Kreyolicious Reads…your very own Haitian-American Book Club…in which—in which I discuss a book about Haiti.
Today’s novel is Stella by Emeric Bergeaud.
This book is special to Kreyolicious Reads for so many reasons. Originally written in 1859, Stella is the oldest novel that has been selected for the Book Club. This translated edition of the novel is brought to us by Luis Duno-Gottberg and Adriana Umana Hossman, two language and literature professors who took it upon themselves to make this novel (written originally in French) to the English-speaking community.
Emeric Bergeaud chose to make the Haitian Revolution the background of his novel. Had to remind myself that this book was written just 55 years after the 1804 (re)founding of Haiti. Now to think of it…this would be like a modern author writing about the 1960s in our day, and recounting historical moments probably still fresh in still-living contemporaries.
So, who is Stella? She’s not exactly the heroine of Bergeaud’s story. She’s more like one of many players. There’s Romulus and Remus—two brothers who are instrumental in the revolution—the undeniable heroes who overshadow real-life figures like Jean-Jacques Dessalines and Henri Christophe. A fictionalized version of the period that leads to the disintegration the former French colony Saint Domingue, Stella has all the sparks of the historical novels about the U.S. Civil War that you may have read.
And for this reason, and for a whole lots more, it’s a Kreyolicious Reads selection.