Released: January 1991
Foreword by Jamaica Kincaid, Afterword by David Barry Gaspar and Michel-Rolph Trouillot
During the eighteenth century, hundreds of thousands of Africans were rounded up and packed onto boats headed for the French colony of Haiti, then called Saint-Domingue. Exposed to disease, hunger, and abuse, their only protection against death was their value as property. Thousands died before reaching Haiti, and thousands more died from the harsh conditions of labor on the sugar plantations.
A born storyteller and philosopher, Babouk is one of the very few slaves able to explain the long journey and the strange new world of white domination and black slavery to his fellow Africans. Unable to accept the oppression and brutality of slavery, he rebels and helps to organize a massive revolt. Although he is captured and killed, the revolt he leads is the beginning of the road to Haitian independence.
Loosely based on the Haitian slave insurrection of 1791, Babouk is a biting account of colonialism at its peak. By using the imagination of the novelist to fill in the gaps in the historical record, Endore is able to show us how slavery felt to the slaves who experienced it. His novel is rare for its depiction of the shared history of the slaves and its attention to the variety of the slave experience. It provides the reader with a vivid history of Haiti and a compelling account of slavery and rebellion.