24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 22 June 2002
Cesaire's 'Cahier [Notebook]' is a seminal work of both Afro-Caribbean and Surrealist literature, a glorious work in which the author - and his people - undergoes turmoil, oppression and racism, before emerging triumphanty, at the end, on the wings of the wind which symbolically bears him away. The 'Cahier' is also one of the most difficult texts ever written as far as translating it is concerned; there are over 100 words officially classed as extremely rare or obsolete, as well as those inserted from Creole or simply invented and the syntax of the text varies almost from line to line, stark exclamations are followed by long, rambling descriptive prose passages. To its credit, the Bloodaxe translation, whilst not always totally accurate, does a very good job of conveying the meaning of the French, and enables the reader to enjoy fully one of the most important, controversial texts of the 20th century. Although it was written over 60 years ago, the book is refreshingly modern -indeed, like so many great books, it is a book for all times, a triumph of the oppressed over adversity.