After forcing myself to read 1984 because it is the book of 2017, it was a breath of fresh air to read Isabel Allende‘s Island Beneath the Sea, which is essentially my kind of book. It is one of those historical multi-generational family epics. It tells the story of Zarité (Tété), a mulatto woman born into slavery in Saint-Domingue (modern-day Haiti) and her complicated tumultuous relationship with her master, sugar-planter Toulouse Valmorain, by whom she is raped, to whom she bears children, and with whom she escapes to New Orleans, him to a new plantation after the beginning of the slave revolts that would eventually be the Haitian Revolution, her in pursuit of her promised freedom.
It is an elegant riveting novel that I was very pleased to read and would absolutely read again. Zarité’s resilence and determination to find love (freedom) and maintain her humanity (freedom) in the cruelest of circumstances (slavery) is particularly humbling.