The Infamous Rosalie

Written by Evelyne Trouillot, translated by Marjorie Attignol Salvodon | October 1, 2013
The Infamous Rosalie, written by Evelyne Trouillot, translated by Marjorie Attignol Salvodon, University of Nebraska Press, October 1

Lisette, a Saint-Domingue-born Creole slave and daughter of an African-born bossale, has inherited not only the condition of slavery but the traumatic memory of the Middle Passage as well. The stories told to her by her grandmother and godmother, including the horrific voyage aboard the infamous slave ship Rosalie, have become part of her own story, the one she tells in this haunting novel by the acclaimed Haitian writer Évelyne Trouillot.

Inspired by the colonial tale of an African midwife who kept a cord of some seventy knots, each one marking a child she had killed at birth, the novel transports us back to Saint-Domingue, before it became Haiti. The year is 1750, and a rash of poisonings is sowing fear among the plantation masters, already unsettled by the unrest caused by Makandal, the legendary Maroon leader. Through this tumultuous time, Lisette struggles to maintain her dignity and to imagine a future for her unborn child. In telling Lisette’s story, Trouillot gives the revolution that will soon rock the island a human face and at long last sheds light on the invisible women and men of Haitian history.

The original French edition of Rosalie l’infâme received the Prix Soroptimist de la romancière francophone, honoring a novel written by a woman from a French-speaking country which showcases the cultural and literary diversity of the French-speaking world.


Évelyne Trouillot was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where she lives and works as a university professor. She is the author of four novels, four collections of short stories, two volumes of stories for children, two books of poems, and an award-winning play. The original French edition of Rosalie l’infâme received the Prix Soroptimist de la romancière francophone, honoring a novel written by a woman from a French-speaking country which showcases the cultural and literary diversity of the French-speaking world.

M. A. Salvodon, an associate professor of French at Suffolk University, translated, with Jehanne-Marie Gavarini, Nina Bouraoui's Tomboy (Nebraska, 2007).

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
Sign in or register to post comments.

More new titles

new titles

Infidels

Set in Salé, Morocco—the hometown Abdellah Taïa fled, but to which he returns again and again in his acclaimed fiction and films—Infidels follows the life of Jallal, the son of a
new titles

An Arab Melancholia

Irresistibly charming, angry, and wry, this autobiographical novel traces the emergence of Abdellah Taïa’s identity as an openly gay Arab man living between cultures. The book spans twenty years, moving from Salé, to Paris, to Cairo. Part incantation, part polemic, and part love letter, this extraordinary novel creates a new world where the self is effaced by desire and love, and writing is always an act of discovery.
new titles

The Wound

Throughout the acclaimed French writer Laurent Mauvignier's novel, we realize that the Algerian War, always present, always repressed, has sickened the emotional and moral life of everyone it touched — and France itself, perhaps. Wounded men become the wound itself.