The discovery in Robinson Crusoe of the footprint of a fellow human on an abandoned island is a haunting and iconic moment in world literature. In the hands of Patrick Chamoiseau, one of the most innovative and lauded authors in the French language, this moment of shattered solitude becomes an occasion for Crusoe to reconsider his origins, existence, and humanity and for one of our most acclaimed novelists to craft a powerful meditation on race and history.

Chamoiseau’s novel contrasts two intertwining narratives—the log entries of a slave ship’s captain and the story of a castaway who awakens on a beach and must rebuild his entire world alone. Chamoiseau creates a new perspective on the Crusoe myth, not only injecting the slave trade and Creole history into this previously ahistorical tale but conceiving an intensely original, freeform prose influenced by Creole cadence. This powerful work by a literary master is available in English for the first time in this eloquent and vivid translation.

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