Dining with the Dictator


208 pages
ISBN 0-88910-480-8
DDC C843'.54





Translated by David Homel
Reviewed by Kenrick E.A. Mose

Kenrick E.A. Mose is an associate professor of Spanish Studies at the
University of Guelph.


Dany Laferriиre is a Haitian novelist well known to English readers
through his previously translated work, especially How to Make Love to a
Negro and An Aroma of Coffee. Dining with the Dictator centres on the
narrator’s recollections of a weekend rich in erotic activity and
suspense during his adolescence in Port-au-Prince some 20 years ago.
Coexisting with the novel’s playfulness and humor is the cruel
presence of the Duvalier dictatorship, with its dungeons and torture,
its ubiquity and power over life and death. We see how easy it is,
through chance circumstances, to put into motion the mechanism of
terror. Part of Laferriиre’s success is attributable to his vivid
portrayal of different layers of Haitian society. The traditional petty
bourgeois world of the narrator’s aunts and mother is set against the
world of bars, beaches, nightclubs, restaurants, and sex. The overriding
impression is that of a violent world wherein all people cannibalize
each other in some way. This entertaining novel was born of a keen eye,
a knowing mind, and a clever pen.


Laferrière, Dany., “Dining with the Dictator,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 25, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/6346.