Savage Seasons

Savage Seasons

Kettly Mars
Translated by Jeanine Herman
Afterword by Madison Smartt Bell

French Voices Series

258 pages


July 2015


$18.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Port-au-Prince, the 1960s: Baby Doc Duvalier and his militia are systematically eliminating opponents to the regime. Daniel Leroy, editor in chief of the opposition newspaper, has just been arrested. To find out what has become of him, his wife, Nirvah, visits Raoul Vincent, secretary of state at the Office of Public Safety. This fearsome head of the secret police is instantly smitten, and to ensure her husband’s survival and protect her family, Nirvah submits to the official’s desires. Becoming the mistress of a strongman in the regime is not without its benefits. Still, she has to endure her neighbors’ inquisitive looks and the silent questions of her own children.

Kettly Mars’s Savage Seasons describes a pivotal and painful period in Haitian history by weaving together two stories: the personal story of Nirvah and her family and the universal story of Duvalier’s dictatorial regime and its abuses.

Author Bio

Kettly Mars was born in 1958 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where she resides today. She is the author of three novels and two story collections. Jeanine Herman has translated the works of numerous authors, including Julia Kristeva and Eric Laurrent. She is a Chevalier in the French Order of Arts and Letters. Madison Smartt Bell is a professor of English at Goucher College and is known for his trilogy of novels about the Haitian Revolution.


“The principal merit of Kettly Mars’s novel Savage Seasons is in making us feel a dictatorship’s intimate grip on its subjects. . . . Savage Seasons is a novel about the widespread abandonment of freedom by a society that has become macoute, where dictatorship leads to collective, accepted madness.”—Christian Tortel, Le Monde

“A breathless novel that combines fiction and reality with both dexterity and pugnacity.”—Brune

“A fine feminist and political novel that plunges into a country where ‘nobody dies a natural death.’ As she reveals the mechanisms of this totalitarian regime, Kettly Mars confirms the energy of Haitian literature, which includes, besides Dany Laferrière or Lyonel Trouillot, remarkable women as well.”—Le Nouvel Observateur

“[Savage Seasons] makes clear the Haitian misfortune beyond pathetic clichés for those who want to understand a country that suffers not only from the cruelty of nature but also from the violence of political history.”—La Vie

“Without concessions and writing in an incisive style, [Kettly Mars] claims the wealth of her multicultural heritage as she at the same time denounces its quirks.”—Le Quotidien du Medecin

"Readers interested in the Haitian revolution, or simply readers looking for a novel filled with beautiful imagery, should look no further than this wonderful novel."—Kristan Hoffman, Big Muddy


A French Voices publication

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