A Sun to Be Sewn: A Novel (Paperback)

A Sun to Be Sewn: A Novel By Jean D'Amérique, Thierry Kehou (Translated by) Cover Image
By Jean D'Amérique, Thierry Kehou (Translated by)
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An NPR Book of the Day

In this modern fable full of poetry, desire, and blood, a creative young Haitian girl struggles against seemingly impossible odds to escape the cruel reality of her Port-au-Prince slum.

“You’ll be alone in the great night.” That’s what Papa has always prophesied to her. Papa, who isn’t her real father—he disappeared when she was born. Since then, her mother has been forced to walk the streets to provide for herself and her daughter, while Papa robs and murders for the local gang leader, to ensure his access to ganja and alcohol, but also for the sheer pleasure of it.
    Often finding herself alone within the four walls of a hovel in a Haitian shantytown with corrugated iron for a roof, the young girl tirelessly tries to compose a letter that will capture what is in her heart and soul. She is consumed with love for a classmate, the daughter of her teacher, and searches for words to faithfully express her feelings and her dreams.
    In a poetic language that encompasses poverty and idealism, she observes the violence, the shortcomings, and the addictions of the adults around her. Her passion makes her resilient, nurturing her character and helping her to invent a better fate than the one to which she seemed doomed.

About the Author

Jean D’Amérique, born in Haiti in 1994, is a poet, playwright, and novelist. He received the Prix de Poésie de la Vocation for his poetry collection Nul chemin dans la peau que saignante étreinte and the Prix Jean-Jacques Lerrant des Journées de Lyon des Auteurs de Théâtre for his play Cathédrale des cochons. His first novel, Soleil à coudre, was published in 2021.
Thierry Kehou is a writer and literary translator based in Brooklyn, New York. His translation of Francis Bebey’s novella Three Little Shoeshiners received support from the Bread Loaf Translators’ Conference and was long-listed for the 2020 John Dryden Translation Competition. Kehou holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Rutgers University-Newark and a BA in Individualized Study from New York University’s Gallatin School. He is a founding member and board member of Lampblack.

Praise For…

An NPR Book of the Day
“A slim, brutal novel…beautifully poetic.” —NPR, All Things Considered
“D’Amérique unfolds a panorama of pain and courage, death and desire, telling all in a wounded lyrical style that haunts the reader long after the novel’s end…Kehou does a mesmerizing job at recasting this beautiful, heartbreaking tale into English.” —Asymptote

“‘Being Haitian means to be born in blood,’ Jean D’Amérique has written. A Sun to Be Sewn, like D’Amérique’s other novels, poetry, and theatrical works, immerses us in that blood, but he refuses to let his characters be silenced. His words haunt us with the subtlety, nuance, and lyricism that our beautiful and aching country not only inspires, but demands. Jean D’Amérique is a very talented writer and A Sun to Be Sewn is an unforgettable novel.” —Edwidge Danticat, author of Breath, Eyes, Memory

“Jean D’Amérique’s prose has a musical rhythm, making each sentence of A Sun to Be Sewn come alive. He paints a portrait of a child’s world with the delicate touch of a poet. A necessary and stunning rendering of contemporary Haiti, childhood, and what it means to survive, A Sun to Be Sewn is told through a remarkable voice unlike any other, imparting the reader with images that will not soon be forgotten.” —Leila Mottley, New York Times bestselling author of Nightcrawling

“As timely a work as it is timeless, Jean D’Amérique’s A Sun to Be Sewn, translated with an expert touch by Thierry Kehou, plunges the reader into the tumultuous world of its young female Haitian protagonist through language so lyrical and abrim with imagery each sentence impresses itself on the mind. Amidst the tragic, D’Amérique offers a tale of survival, and reminds us of literature’s incomparable representational power.” —John Keene, National Book Award–winning author of Punks: New & Selected Poems

“A Shakespearean debut novel, with the tragic beauty of a Géricault painting. Stunning.” —Le Monde des livres

“The genius of Jean D’Amérique is having successfully used a language at once marvelously poetic and very hard. I couldn’t pull myself away, I read it in one sitting.” —Célimène Daudet, France Culture, Affaires culturelles

“Tenderness and violence alternate in this book that describes the ‘gangsterization’ of neighborhoods in the Haitian capital.” —Le Point
Product Details
ISBN: 9781635422825
ISBN-10: 1635422825
Publisher: Other Press
Publication Date: March 21st, 2023
Pages: 160
Language: English