Douglas & McIntyre | August 2011
From the Prix Médicis winner comes a haunting meditation on the nature of identity.
Dany Laferrière’s most celebrated book since How to Make Love to a Negro, The Return is a bestseller in France and Quebec and the winner of many awards, including the prestigious Prix Médicis and the Grand Prix du livre de Montréal.
At age 23, the narrator, Dany, hurriedly left behind the stifling heat of Port-au-Prince for the unending winter of Montreal. It was 1976, and Baby Doc Duvalier’s regime had just killed one of his journalist colleagues. Thirty-three years later, a telephone call informs Dany of his father’s death in New York. Windsor Laferrière had fled Haiti in the 1960s, fearing persecution for his political activities. After the funeral, Dany plans to return his father to Baradères, the village in Haiti where he was born. It is not the body he will take, but the spirit.
How does one return from exile? In acutely observed details, Dany reveals his affection for his father and for the land of his birth. Translated by two-time Governor General’s Award–winner David Homel, The Return blends the gritty reality of daily life with the lush sensuality and ecstatic mystery that underlie Haitian culture. It is the novel of a great writer.