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Vale of Tears

A Novel from Haiti
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"This book is a wonderful introduction to Ms. Oriol’s work for English-speaking readers.”

—Edwidge Danticat


Vale of Tears is a stark, meditative, and vivid exploration of Coralie Santeuil’s life through a series of flashbacks she has on New Year’s eve as she makes fourteen stops while walking from one end of the busy city of Port-au-Prince to the other in a last quest to save her life and retain her dignity.
Although the novel is set in the period around the Second World War, it is in many ways a book about contemporary Haiti. We pause to wonder what happens to the privileged when their world disintegrates. We contemplate the survival skills of the poor. Vale of Tears offers a critical reading of the class system and corruption which plague the country.
Paulette Poujol Oriol’s unmatched psychological renditions, her extraordinary story-telling talent and masterful prose beguile and outrage, enchant and enrapture all at once.


Paulette Poujol-OriolPaulette Poujol-Oriol is one of Haiti’s most celebrated novelists. She won Le Monde’s prestigious prize for best short story in francophone countries in 1988 for “La Fleur Rouge.” She also received Haiti’s coveted literary prize, the Prix Henri Deschamps, for her novel Le Creuset (The Crucible) in 1980. Le Passage was originally published in French in 1996. She passed away on March 11, 2011.


Review in Kreyolicious Magazine
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