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Crossing the Mangrove [Paperback]

Maryse Conde
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.85
Price: 8.75 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 Jan 1995
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.

Frequently Bought Together

Crossing the Mangrove + Houseboy (Heinemann African Writers Series) + God's Bits of Wood (Heinemann African Writers Series)
Price For All Three: 28.33

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Product details

  • Paperback: 207 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers; 1st Anchor Books Ed edition (1 Jan 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385476337
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385476331
  • Product Dimensions: 20.9 x 13.8 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 273,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I hate reviews of books because you either get a lame overstatement or a careless understatement. Most the reviews that I've read on this book speaks of a mysterious death that leads to an investigative story--- and the investigative assumption makes readers like me completely skip books of the nature.
BUT THIS BOOK HAS A STEW SO THICK IN CULTURE and COLOR SCENERY that it encaptures you so that shortly you'll realize that the book is over. Every character has an interesting story. I love this book and I plan to read more of Conde's novels. It's a journey in past times and current times, cultures varying from Negro, Mulatto, East Indian, French/Creole Carribean as well Spanish Carribiean and Americas..You'll love it.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is your perfect travel read! 21 Feb 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book is your perfect travel read; meaning that this book takes you places. You'll have a mix of French and Creole stew and the diverse cultures formed in the Carribean. If you have a love for Nature, Mystery, and a leading Storyline, please buy this book!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is your perfect travel read! 21 Feb 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is your perfect travel read; meaning that this book takes you places. You'll have a mix of French and Creole stew and the diverse cultures formed in the Carribean. If you have a love for Nature, Mystery, and a leading Storyline, please buy this book!
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Conde: The Classic Literary Maroon 12 Oct 2003
By Alan Cambeira - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The reader must not readily assume (quite a mistake) that this is a conventional detective mystery, even one with Caribbean cadences. Far from being so. Rather, this is an exhilarating celebration of the intricate balancing of the complexities of cultural diversity in the region. Without equal, Conde is both brilliant and powerful in presenting an honest portrait of Caribbean society, most particularly the richness of the Guadeloupean society. The murdered stranger, Francis Sancher, is symbolic of the long history of the Caribbean itself: the influential, intrusive "outsider" that serves as catalyst for change. But be careful; Sancher is not the central character here. If one reads all of Conde's novels together (an experience well worth the time), one observes a fascinating personal evolution in setting, form, artistry, and content: from Africa, the United States and the anglophone Antilles, then finally to the francophone zone. This geographical movement parallels precisely the author's emotional/psychological journey back to her native Guadeloupe. Conde is the classic literary maroon, so central, in my opinion, to the Caribbean literary tradition: while promoting independence for others, she simultaneously claims it for herself. She, by the way, is a longtime supporter of independence from France of the entire francophone territories. As a writer, Conde definitely heads the list of the region's most stellar and talented. All her novels are MUST READ works.
Alan Cambeira, Author of AZUCAR! The Story of Sugar (a novel)
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive! It's Everything that you'd expect and more! 2 Mar 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I hate reviews of books because you either get a lame overstatement or a careless understatement. Most the reviews that I've read on this book speaks of a mysterious death that leads to an investigative story--- and the investigative assumption makes readers like me completely skip books of the nature.
BUT THIS BOOK HAS A STEW SO THICK IN CULTURE and COLOR SCENERY that it encaptures you so that shortly you'll realize that the book is over. Every character has an interesting story. I love this book and I plan to read more of Conde's novels. It's a journey in past times and current times, cultures varying from Negro, Mulatto, East Indian, French/Creole Carribean as well Spanish Carribiean and Americas..You'll love it.
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Differing points of view 21 Aug 2002
By Glen Engel Cox - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The last book assigned in my African-American Women's Literature course actually goes a little off the coast to look at a Guadalopean writer who now makes her home in the U.S. but writes about her island birthplace in her native French and Creole. This novel is her most recent, a study it seems of a community on the island and the changes brought about by an outsider.
The outsider, Frances Sancher, dies in Chapter One, and most readers will likely expect a mystery here, in which an explanation for his death is revealed in the end. And it is true enough that Frances is a mysterious character, especially as seen through the many different eyes of the community, but Conde is not writing a detective story--or, at least, not a traditional one. Even though Frances seems to be a catalyst for change in the community, he is not the center of the novel, even though his physical body in its casket serves as the candle to which the moths are drawn. Like the candle, Frances' life and death illuminates the other characters, sometimes singeing one or two, but when the candle burns out, the moths are free to move on and return to what they were doing before the candle arrived.
I really liked the structure of this novel, as each chapter is told from a new point of view (nearly 20 different in all). I realize that this is nothing new--William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying and other novels have used a similar scheme--but this was the first time I had run into it.
But I'm just not sure the novel works for me in the end, unless Conde's purpose was to portray Guadalopean society as fractured and diverse. This definitely comes through, but works against the Western tradition of cohesiveness in the novel. The ending here is not Aristotelian; instead, it implies a multitude of beginnings. It's not that I feel I have to have all the threads tied up by the end of a novel, but I would like to get some sense of completion, some sense that there was a reason why the author selected these moments in time as compared to some other. Novels are about narrative, not simply description.
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved the book 20 Jun 2014
By Jessica - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I had to read the French version for a French literature class and decided after I read the original French version that I would give the English version a try and it is amazing as well. The translation is very good and I would recommend either the French or the English version! Very interesting book.
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