It is Carnival time in Fort-de-France. Before an enthralled crowd Solibo Magnificent, the great teller of tales, is felled, seemingly choked by his own words. Is it autostrangulation or murder?
As other reviewers have noted, this story is not only about the death and murder investigation of a beloved storyteller, but about the death of the oral tradition in general. Chamoiseau leaves no doubt that he intends the reader to walk away with this notion. Written words are inadequate to describe the power of the spoken; one has only to read the reconstructed version of Solibo's last words at the end of the book to understand this. Despite the somewhat heavy-handed approach to his theme, Chamoiseau tells a riveting story with natural lyricism. (Kudos to the translators!)
This author deserves a much wider readership (or is it audience?)