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Silence Like Blood

“My Dear Claire,
If I’m writing to you, it’s only out of respect for the promise I made, not, as you asked, to tell you everything I see. For I can only see what is shown. . . “

So begins Silence Like Blood, Marie-Célie Agnant’s epistolery novella about Mnemosyne, a Haitian expat returning to her birth country. Encountering a suspicious entrepreneur, a prudent village girl, and a mysterious hermit with a tragic past, Mnemosyne reconciles the muted, weary personalities of her fellow Haitians with beautiful natural landscape around her. With superb heart and direct syntax, Agnant’s story cuts through with cinematic detail, an unflinching voice, and the perceptive charm of empathy.

MARIE-CÉLIE AGNANT was born in 1953 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and has lived in Canada since 1970. An acclaimed novelist and poet, she has also worked as an interpreter, a teacher, and an environmental activist. She is a multilingual storyteller, performing in Spanish, Creole, French, and English, and regularly appears onstage at literary festivals and performance spaces, including the Bread and Puppet Theater in Vermont. The collection Le Silence Comme Le Sang was a finalist for Canada’s Prix du Gouverneur Général in 1997.

DAWN FULTON teaches Francophone literature at Smith College. She has translated short works by Maryse Condé, Giséle Pineau, and Leïla Sebbar, and is the recipient of a PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant for the translation of Michéle Lacrosil’s 1961 novel Cajou.

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