Who Slashed Celanire's Throat?: A Fantastical Tale

by Maryse Condé

Other authorsRichard Philcox (Translator)
Paperback, 2005




Washington Square Press (2005), 240 pages


The deeply prolific and widely celebrated author of such books as Segu and Tales from the Heart, Maryse Condé returns with an unforgettable new novel, Who Slashed Celanire's Throat? Inspired by a tragedy in the late twentieth century, Condé sets this fiction in the late nineteenth century with her characteristic blend of magical realism and fantasy. Condé lyrically, hauntingly imagines Celanire: a woman who was mutilated at birth and left for dead. Mysterious, seductive, and disarming, she is driven to uncover the truth of her past at any cost. On one hand, Celanire appears to be a saint; she is a tireless worker who has turned numerous neglected institutions into vibrant schools for motherless children. But she is also a woman apprehended by demons, as death and misfortune seem to follow in her wake. Who Slashed Celanire's Throat? follows both her triumphs and her trials as this survivor becomes a beautiful and powerful woman who travels from Guadeloupe to West Africa to Peru in order to solve the mysteries of her past and avenge the crimes committed against her.This beautifully rendered story, translated by Richard Philcox from the French edition, is sure to be considered the most dazzling addition to Condé's brilliant body of work.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member pinkcrayon99
This book was phenomenal! The author begins with a subtle Celanire who is yet mysterious to everyone. No one knows why there is always some type of ever present neckband/choker around her neck. Celanire is known as an "oblate" dedicated to God and the Catholic religion but not devoted enough to be a nun. She was sent to remote African village to assist the director of an orphanage. Upon her arrival the director dies. This is only the beginning of many horrible deaths that seem to be associated with Celanire's presence. Everywhere she goes she brings good and evil. She has a presence that brings everything and everyone to an abrupt stop.

The characters in this book were simply epic. They are extremely complex and weaved together by one common thread, Celanire. The only other author that I have read that develops characters such as Maryse Conde is Edward P. Jones. They give you the history of the character upon their initial introduction and then put you right back in the present without you ever being getting lost. Very hard technique to master without losing the reader.

Beside the characters being so captivating the landscapes, animals, flowers, and architecture have you feeling like you were right in the midst of them. Seriously, I really don't know who was telling the story that never seemed to be concrete. The language was little hard at times there were a lot of French terms. This book was based on evil and revenge and how it comes full circle.
… (more)


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Physical description

240 p.; 5.31 inches


0743482611 / 9780743482615

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