The Bridge of Beyond
The Bridge of Beyond
New York Review of Books, Paperback, 9781590176801, 272pp.
Publication Date: August 20, 2013
A masterpiece of Caribbean literature, "The Bridge of Beyond" relates the triumph of a generous and hopeful spirit, while offering a gorgeously lush, imaginative depiction of the flora, landscape, and customs of Guadeloupe. Simone Schwarz-Bart's incantatory prose, interwoven with Creole proverbs and lore, appears here in a remarkable translation by Barbara Bray.
Barbara Bray (1924 2010) was a translator of twentieth-century French literature into English. She was an early champion of Marguerite Duras and Samuel Beckett, and also translated the work of Jean Genet, Jean-Paul Sartre, Jean Anouilh, and Alain Robbe-Grillet.
Jamaica Kincaid was born in St. John s, Antigua, and has lived in the United States since she was sixteen. She is the author of several books of fiction and nonfiction, including "At the Bottom of the River," "A Small Place," "Annie John," "Mr. Potter," "My Brother," "Among Flowers: A Walk in the Himalayas," and most recently, the novel "See Now Then.""
“This is an infinite, celebratory novel, containing multitudes in the space of each rich sentence—a masterpiece of Caribbean literature that certainly deserves the badge of the classic.” —World Literature Today
"Most striking about this book is how magical the story is, even at its darkest. The Bridge of Beyond is a lush and entrancing fable about history and family and love. It is, truly, a hallmark of Caribbean literature." —The Nation
“An immersive experience and a very fine translation by Barbara Bray from the original French.” —The Guardian (UK)
“It is like a fable in the form of a ballad, which is to say it is poetical but not always clear. Its languorous sense of ease, dangerously close to delusion, gives scope to Simone Schwarz-Bart’s considerable gift for describing the trees and flowers of her native island.” —Paul Theroux, The New York Times
“In a literary field saturated with messianic heroes, be they poetic or proletarian, The Bridge of Beyond plunges us into a fabulous story of women, the chronicle of a mythical line of matrons: the Lougandors. Yet something would be lacking if we saw it merely as, for example, a rewriting of [Jacques Roumain’s] Masters of the Dew, where a family of women are playing their version of Manuel. In comparison with these pre-texts, Simone Schwarz-Bart innovates. She innovates by metamorphosing the Creole oral tradition.” —Maryse Condé
“Her stories seem to gleam with the polish of re-telling and are a distillation of passion and experience in which every trace of whimsicality and affectation have been squeezed out by the knowledge of real suffering. The virtues are, of course, not [the character] Toussine’s but the author’s, but so natural is this that it is easy to forget that it is a work of fiction; it is a very fine achievement.” —The Irish Times
“The book’s gift of life is so generous, and its imagery so scintillant in the sunlight of love, that we believe every word.”—John Updike, The New Yorker
“There’s magic, madness, glory, tenderness, above all abundant hope.” —Financial Times
“The language...is as luxuriant as the foliage of the Antilles.” —The Times (London)