An Aroma of Coffee

Dany Laferriere, Author Coach House Press $11.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-88910-439-6
Laferriere's ( How to Make Love to a Negro ) beguiling and lyrical new novel traces the day-to-day activities of a 10-year-old boy during one summer in his Haitian village. The unnamed narrator says early on that ``nothing much happened that summer, besides my tenth birthday.'' The statement is literally true but deceptive. There is no conventional narrative. Rather, the author strings together loosely related incidents and images to portray the idyllic quality of a boy's life in summer. Plagued by periodic bouts of high fever, the youth must stick close to his grandmother's front porch, the perfect vantage point from which to watch the world pass by. His grandmother, known as Da, is the boy's most powerful influence. She is a storyteller, an interpreter of dreams and the purveyor of strong coffee. During the course of the summer, the boy learns about life and death, experiences his first sexual stirrings and gets into all the mischief of which a 10-year-old is capable. Laferriere is a master of the vivid image. Readers will see and smell the sea, taste Da's coffee. The author powerfully evokes the Haiti of his youth, where Da can live only a few miles from Port-au-Prince and yet never get there. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/04/1993
Release date: 10/01/1993
Genre: Fiction
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