Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme that was started by @Lauren’s Page Turners. This meme is quite easy to follow – just randomly pick a book from your to-be-read list and give the reasons why you want to read it. It is that simple.

This week’s book:

Crossing the Mangrove by Maryse Condé


Blurb from Goodreads

In this beautifully crafted, Rashomon-like novel, Maryse Conde has written a gripping story imbued with all the nuances and traditions of Caribbean culture. Francis Sancher–a handsome outsider, loved by some and reviled by others–is found dead, face down in the mud on a path outside Riviere au Sel, a small village in Guadeloupe.  None of the villagers are particularly surprised, since Sancher, a secretive and melancholy man, had often predicted an unnatural death for himself.  As the villagers come to pay their respects they each–either in a speech to the mourners, or in an internal monologue–reveal another piece of the mystery behind Sancher’s life and death.  Like pieces of an elaborate puzzle, their memories interlock to create a rich and intriguing portrait of a man and a community. In the lush and vivid prose for which she has become famous, Conde has constructed a Guadeloupean wake for Francis Sancher.  Retaining the full color and vibrance of Conde’s homeland, Crossing the Mangrove pays homage to Guadeloupe in both subject and structure.

Why I Want to Read It

During last year’s Nobel Prize in Literature derby, one of the frontrunners (according to some literary pundits) was Maryse Condé. To be honest, I have never heard of her before nor have I heard or encountered any of her works. It was kind of weird that I never encountered her works considered her repertoire is quite substantial. I guess I simply never ventured into Caribbean literature.

Touted as the “grande dame of Caribbean literature”, my first encounter of her name immediately piqued my interest and included her in my long list of “authors whose works I want to explore.” It was kind of difficult finding her works in local bookstores but thankfully, I came a cross a copy of Crossing the Mangrove in the recently concluded 2020 Big Bad Wolf Manila Book Fair. I guess I was lucky, the minute I saw her name on the book cover, I was beyond elated.

What made me more excited about the book is that Condé is popular for being a historical fiction writer. As you all know it, I am a huge historical fiction fan. Moreover, I have quite a huge appetite for reading authors I’ve never read before. I truly believe that I am going to have a good time with this book. I just hope I get to encounter more of her works in the local bookstore.

I hope everyone is keeping safe in the comfort of their homes. I know that this COVID-19 pandemic will soon draw to a close. Oh yes, happy Monday everyone! Time passed by that I didn’t realize it was the start to a new week already.