CWS: Masters of the Dew
Author: Jacques Roumain
Published: July 1978
Format: Paperback 192 pages
Level: Age 11 and older
This outstanding novel tells of Manuel's struggle to keep his little community from starvation from drought.
The genre of the peasant novel in Haiti reaches back to the nineteenth century and this is one of the outstanding examples. It features an introduction by J. Michael Dash.
Manuel goes back to his native village after working on a sugar cane plantation in Cuba. On his return he finds his village stricken by a drought and divided by a family feud. He attacks the resignation endemic among his people by preaching the kind of political awareness and solidarity he has learnt in Cuba and goes on to illustrate his ideas in a tangible way by finding water and bringing it to the fields through the collective labour of the villagers. In this political fable, Roumain is careful to create an authentic environment and credible characters. In the novel we are emotionally moved as well as ideologically persuaded.
Translated from the French by Langston Hughes and Mercer Cook.