The Return

Paperback | August 29, 2011

byDany LaferriereTranslated byDavid Homel

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From the Prix Medicis winner comes a haunting meditation on the nature of identity.

Dany Laferriere's most celebrated book since How to Make Love to a Negro, The Return is a bestseller in France and Quebec and the winner of many awards, including the prestigious Prix Medicis and the Grand Prix du livre de Montreal.

At age 23, the narrator, Dany, hurriedly left behind the stifling heat of Port-au-Prince for the unending winter of Montreal. It was 1976, and Baby Doc Duvalier's regime had just killed one of his journalist colleagues. Thirty-three years later, a telephone call informs Dany of his father's death in New York. Windsor Laferriere had fled Haiti in the 1960s, fearing persecution for his political activities. After the funeral, Dany plans to return his father to Baraderes, the village in Haiti where he was born. It is not the body he will take, but the spirit.

How does one return from exile? In acutely observed details, Dany reveals his affection for his father and for the land of his birth. Translated by two-time Governor General's Award-winner David Homel, The Return blends the gritty reality of daily life with the lush sensuality and ecstatic mystery that underlie Haitian culture. It is the novel of a great writer.

Longlisted for the 2012 International Impac Dublin Literary Award

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From the Publisher

From the Prix Medicis winner comes a haunting meditation on the nature of identity.Dany Laferriere's most celebrated book since How to Make Love to a Negro, The Return is a bestseller in France and Quebec and the winner of many awards, including the prestigious Prix Medicis and the Grand Prix du livre de Montreal.At age 23, the narrato...

David Homel has translated over 30 books, many by Quebec authors. He won the Governor General's Literary Award in translation in 1995 for Why Must a Black Writer Write About Sex? by Dany Laferrire; his translation of Laferrire's How to Make Love to a Negro was nominated in 1988; and he won the prize in 2001 with fellow translator Fre...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 8 × 5 × 0.6 inPublished:August 29, 2011Publisher:Douglas And McIntyre (2013) Ltd.Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1553658086

ISBN - 13:9781553658085

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Editorial Reviews

"Someone once told me there are only two real stories: someone leaves home, and a stranger comes to town. This tale considers both of these real stories and offers insights into the father-son relationship and the question of home and exile. Laferriere’s keen eye and bared heart stayed with me long after I finished his beautiful elegy.""Waterloo Region Record""The Return masterfully reconnects the past and present with the harsh realities of life and death...It is a book that will touch your heart and demand to be read more than once.""Toronto Quarterly""Laferriere's book is a purposeful contemplation on the concept of exile and father/son relations, and of course the search for identity...What makes The Return so captivating is the use of language when he describes Montreal and Haiti, the differences and the similarities. His feelings of alienation for each geography changes with what he sees. How could it not?""Telegraph-Journal""It's a richly haunting novel, with prose melting into poetry.""Uptown Magazine""[Laferriere's] prose has always had the ability to wrap itself around the reader's organs and take hold, slowly at first, before becoming a part of the body. This novel is no different, digging deep through a minefield of emotional and physical detail with compassionate honesty...a stunning and breathtaking book, and is easily one of his best.""Rob McLennan""The Return is, as its French title explicitly states, enigmatic, a powerful, wrenching book that is not easily explained or understood...The Return is, as [Chantal Guy] concludes, 'a book to savour … that demands more than one reading.'""Globe & Mail“Deeply and miraculously touches our hearts, minds and funny bone all at the same time.” Edwidge Danticat, author of Breath, Eyes, Memory“The Return is like a whole life that suddenly explodes as a Big Bang, liberating the past and the present, dreams and reality, North and South, hot and cold, life and death, exile and return, those who stay and those who go, themes that are found throughout Dany Laferrière’s writing but that have never been as well put together, maybe because they were missing this angle of father and son, which casts everything in a new light. It is a book to savor, a long poem that demands more than one reading.”Chantal Guy, La Presse“The force of The Return flows from the universality of its message. Laferrière gives his creativity and fecund ambition free rein. The result is a sublime novel that pulses to the hypnotic rhythm of his words and the depth of his journey. It is a novel that speaks to the human condition.”Thomas Flamarion, évène.fr“In an age of great post-colonial migrations, this is a magnificent book.”Grégoire Leménager, Le nouvel observateur“Sharp and dry like a shot of Barbancourt rum, as beautiful and as poignant as one of Apollinaire’s poems, his searing prose takes one’s breath away.”Claude Arnaud, Le Point“Carried along by a voice of seductive melancholy, this little poetic gem justly evokes the eternal drama of solitary travelers, those condemned to remain strangers from their own land.”Julien Bisson, Lire“A long autobiographical poem dedicated to the death of his father, Laferrière’s The Return is also a beautiful meditation on exile.”Serge Sanchez, Le magazine littéraire“What is it about this long and seductive autobiographical novel that most draws us in? Is it the daring, the color, the rhythms and tones of the language, a mix of free verse and prose? Is it the idea of disenchanted politics on an island—Haiti—quickly destroyed and too quickly forgotten? Or the fine, melancholic reflection on exile, the loving quest for his father, the sensuality of his stunning scenes etched in the warm weight of the moment? The answer is all of these...”Fabienne Pascaud, Télérama