The Immortals

Makenzy Orcel, trans. from the French by Nathan H. Dize. SUNY, $18.95 trade paper (124p) ISBN 978-1-4384-8056-5
Haitian Orcel debuts with a tragic exploration of the aftermath of the 2010 Haitian earthquake. Not long after the earthquake, an unnamed sex worker in Port-au-Prince learns that one of her clients is a writer and urges him to record the story of fellow sex worker Shakira, who was crushed to death in a building collapse. A jagged portrait emerges of Shakira in brief snippets, ranging from a page to a few lines, as the sex worker confronts her complicity in training Shakira, who ran away from her strict Christian mother at 12, over a decade earlier. A voracious reader, Shakira maintained a relationship with a client who gave her books and told her he was a literature professor, while her mother desperately searched for her. Along the way, Orcel offers glimpses into the lives of other sex workers, including Fedna, “the Blowjob Queen,” who constantly watches TV, and Géralda Huge-Tits, who practices Vodou magic. The fragments, though scant on details and explanations, coalesce into a moving, poetic image of Port-au-Prince’s brothel-lined Grand Rue. This pared-down, evocative story reverberates with the pain of women struggling to find escape from their constrained lives. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 09/15/2020
Release date: 11/01/2020
Genre: Fiction
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