Set in late-18th century Haiti, Dance on the Volcano by the late Marie Vieux-Chauvet, follows the extraordinary career of Minette, who uses her prodigious voice to cross racial barriers. Her talent brings her an opportunity to perform at the Theater of Port-au-Prince, an honor previously reserved only for whites. However, once the curtain falls she finds herself back to life as normal. Praised but unpaid, applauded but shut out, Minette develops a political and racial conscience that that will not rest as long as slavery still exists on the island. Her involvement soon leads her to butt heads with the man she loves, a free black man as cruel to his slaves as many white landholders, and to cross paths with the future heroes of the revolution.
About the Translator
Kaiama L. Glover received a B.A. in French History and Literature and Afro-American Studies from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in French and Romance Philology from Columbia University. She is now an associate professor of French at Barnard College. Her book, Haiti Unbound: A Spiralist Challenge to the Postcolonial Canon, explores the Haitian Spiralist movement. In addition to Dance on the Volcano, she has translated other formidable works such as René Dupestre's Hadriana in All My Dreams. She sits on the editorial boards of the Romanic Review and Small Axe and regularly contributes to The New York Times Book Review.
Dance on the Volcano tells the story of two sisters growing up during the Haitian Revolution in a culture that swings heavily between decadence and poverty, sensuality and depravity. One sister, because of her singing ability, is able to enter into the white colonial society otherwise generally off limits to people of color.