It is 1923. The location is Port-au-Prince, the scenic and sweltering capital of the Caribbean nation of Haiti. Although the country won its independence more than a century earlier, for the last eight years it has languished under the yoke of the U.S. Occupation. Like most of his compatriots, Hellénus Cato is a staunch opponent of the American intervention. The foreign administrators are proving no better than the local opportunists, the Pretenders who say one thing and mean another. Cato is growing more miserable with each passing day, despite the company of his lovely young wife, Céphise. When a dashing Cuban arrives in town promising him fantastic riches, Cato’s destiny is about to change drastically—but not necessarily for the better. Is this the chance he has been waiting for, or is this foreigner yet another Pretender?
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About the Author
Matthew is a doctoral student of Haitian, Caribbean and French African history at York University. This is his second translation of a novel by Fernand Hibbert, the first being Romulus (2014, Deux Voiliers Publishers). He also co-translated C. S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe into Haitian Creole (2017, Educa Vision). He has also published multiple articles on language rights in Haiti in the Journal of Haitian Studies and the Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies. He lives in Cambridge, Ontario with his wife and two sons.