A few years after its liberation from harsh French colonial rule in 1803, Haiti endured a period of great brutality under the reign of King Henri Christophe, who was born a slave but rose to become the first black king in the Western Hemisphere. In this unnerving novel from one of Cuba’s most celebrated authors, Henri Christophe’s oppressive rule is observed through the eyes of the elderly slave Ti Noël, who suffers abuse from masters both white and black. As he ranges across the country searching for true liberation, Ti Noël navigates bloody revolutions, maniacal rulers with false visions of grandeur, and the mysterious power of voodoo magic.
First published in English translation in 1957, The Kingdom of This World is now widely recognized as a masterpiece of Cuban and Caribbean literature. Pablo Medina’s remarkable new translation renders the dreamlike prose of Alejo Carpentier with nuance and felicity while delivering anew a powerful novel about the birth of modern Haiti. Visionary and singularly twisted, The Kingdom of This World emerges from the depths of the struggle for a country into a tale of race, erotomania, magic, and madness.