Slave Old Man
The “heart-stopping” (The Millions), “richly layered” (Brooklyn Rail), “haunting, beautiful” (BuzzFeed) story of an escaped captive and the killer hound that pursues him
“Slave Old Man is a cloudburst of a novel, swift and compressed—but every page pulses, blood-warm. . . . The prose is so electrifyingly synesthetic that, on more than one occasion, I found myself stopping to rub my eyes in disbelief.”
—Parul Sehgal, The New York Times
Shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, Patrick Chamoiseau’s Slave Old Man was published to accolades in hardcover in a brilliant translation by Linda Coverdale, winning the French-American Foundation Translation Prize and chosen as a Publishers WeeklyBest Book of 2018.
Now in paperback, Slave Old Man is a gripping, profoundly unsettling story of an elderly enslaved person’s daring escape into the wild from a plantation in Martinique, with his enslaver and a fearsome hound on his heels. We follow them into a lush rain forest where nature is beyond all human control: sinister, yet entrancing and even exhilarating, because the old man’s flight to freedom will transform them all in truly astonishing—even otherworldly—ways, as the overwhelming physical presence of the forest reshapes reality and time itself.
Chamoiseau’s exquisitely rendered new novel is an adventure for all time, one that fearlessly portrays the demonic cruelties of the slave trade and its human costs in vivid, sometimes hallucinatory prose. Offering a loving and mischievous tribute to the Creole culture of early nineteenth-century Martinique, this novel takes us on a unique and moving journey into the heart of Caribbean history.