Children of Heroes


Children of Heroes

Lyonel Trouillot
Translated by Linda Coverdale

French Voices Series

171 pages


May 2008


$21.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Their father’s favorite saying, between drinks and blows, was, “Life holds only bad surprises, and the last one will be death.” And now, Colin observes of the man sprawled under all the broken furniture, their father was definitely and forever out of surprises. Children of Heroes is the story Colin tells of what happened—and what happened before that. Testimony, confession, a child’s outpouring: this is his painfully matter-of-fact account of how he and his older sister, Mariéla, killed the man who tyrannized them and their piously pathetic mother, who is now a “blank.” As he describes their flight from the slum in Haiti to an uncertain somewhere called “far away,” Colin conjures a bleak picture of the life he and his sister are trying to leave behind. And whether these two—children only in age—are guilty or merely victims of the violence festering in their city is a question only the reader can answer. In its picture of a world in which the heroes and the destroyers—whether fathers or leaders—are often indistinguishable, and where life’s poetry and poverty are inextricably linked, this book tells a story of Haiti that is at once intimate, universal, and otherworldly.

Author Bio

Lyonel Trouillot is a poet, novelist, and essayist of the post-Duvalierist generation of Haitian writers.
Linda Coverdale is a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and the award-winning translator of over fifty books, including Trouillot’s Street of Lost Footsteps (PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize finalist) and Patrick Chamoiseau’s School Days and Chronicle of the Seven Sorrows, all available in Bison Books editions.


“Trouillot writes with his heart on his sleeve . . . and his unabashed empathy for plucky Colin and brave, sexy Mariéla recalls elements of Dickens.”—Publishers Weekly

“Lyonel Trouillot’s novel Children of Heroes is a real tour de force. Set in Haiti, it is a story about surviving the vulnerabilities of childhood. Beautifully written and beautifully translated, its images linger.”—Rose M. Réjouis, winner of the American Translators’ Association Prize

Lyonel Trouillot is perhaps the best known of contemporary Haitian novelists. Children of Heroes shows the author in his prime form for stylistic clarity and emotive impact. His characteristic first-person narrative is a well-constructed story that is vividly realistic and a most tragic tale.”—Thomas C. Spear, editor of Une Journée Haïtienne and coeditor of Céline and the Politics of Difference

"Trouillot's undestated prose, his way of putting a lush sentence together make Children of Heroes a novel worthy of examination and multiple reads."—Kreyolicious


A French Voices selection of the PEN American Center and French Embassy for quality translation of important contemporary French literature.

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