Francine Prose. Farrar Straus Giroux, New York, 1992. $20.00.
Reviewed by Bob Corbett
Simone, a young Haitian woman, comes illegally to the United States on a fraudulent marriage scam in 1963. She immediately ditches her "husband," a legal New York Haitian cabdriver, and becomes an au pair. The novel is told by Simone, but isn't really about her or Haiti, it's much more about life in an affluent yuppie community north of New York city along the Hudson River.
Simone constantly compares her experiences in Hudson's Landing, her live-in work community, with Haiti. However the comparisons and contrasts are quite predictable and not extensive enough for serious consideration.
As a novel about an over-wealthy, spoiled, cynical and rather unpleasant community of upper class Americans, it is fairly entertaining, even biting. As a novel that has anything to do with Haiti it is quite disappointing. However, that's not to denigrate the work of author Francine Prose. She didn't set out to write about Haiti, nor was that her task. She simply chose a narrator who happened to be a recent, and illegal, Haitian immigrant.
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