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Madison Smartt Bell

All Souls' Rising

Madison Smartt Bell All Souls' Rising A Novel Of Haiti (1)
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In this first installment of his epic Haitian trilogy, Madison Smartt Bell brings to life a decisive moment in the history of race, class, and colonialism. The slave uprising in Haiti was a momentous contribution to the tide of revolution that swept over the Western world at the end of the 1700s. A brutal rebellion that strove to overturn a vicious system of slavery, the uprising successfully transformed Haiti from a European colony to the world’s first Black republic. From the center of this horrific maelstrom, the heroic figure of Toussaint Louverture–a loyal, literate slave and both a devout Catholic and Vodouisant–emerges as the man who will take the merciless fires of violence and vengeance and forge a revolutionary war fueled by liberty and equality.

Bell assembles a kaleidoscopic portrait of this seminal movement through a tableau of characters that encompass black, white, male, female, rich, poor, free and enslaved. Pulsing with brilliant detail, All Soul’s Rising provides a visceral sense of the pain, terror, confusion, and triumph of revolution.

“As powerful as a hurricane. . . . All Souls’ Rising is really about us, our times, our prejudices, our race wars.” –The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“A serious historical novel that reads like a dream.” –The Washington Post Book World

“Rich and ambitious. . . . One of the most sophisticated fictional treatments of the enduring themes of class, color, and freedom.” –San Francisco Chronicle

“A powerful and intelligent novel. . . . Historical fiction in the monumental manner.” –The New York Times Book Review

“A beautifully composed, eloquent, grand nightmare of a book. With it, Bell becomes as remarkable a historical novelist as we have in this country.” –Harold Bloom

“A work of breathtaking stylistic expertise on a large scale, easily [Bell’s] most daring and accomplished novel.” —The Baltimore Sun

“A passionately engaged opus. All Souls’ Rising reflects both a sustained imaginative audacity and great intellectual resourcefulness.” —The New Yorker

“Remarkable. . . . All Souls’ Rising deserves to be read for its fictional representation of history and for its compelling characterizations. But its political importance should not be underestimated. . . . Bell’s excursion into revolutionary Haiti is the attempt of an undaunted novelist to stand face to face, as it were, with the prehistory of our own racial divisiveness. . . . An important book.” —The Oregonian

“I’ve known Madison Smartt Bell’s work for quite a while, and this is the best thing he’s ever done–and probably the best thing he’ll ever do, which is my definition of a masterpiece. All Souls’ Rising is simply breathtaking.” —Gloria Naylor

“The scope of this ambitious narrative is heroic. . . . Bell demonstrates that each race destroys itself in doing evil to the other.” —Chicago Tribune

“A major work, a triumph of both storytelling and inspired historical analysis.” —Robert Stone

“A vivid, visceral tale. . . . [Bell] has taken the events of eighteenth-century colonial Haiti and made them a prism for the most divisive issues confronting us today.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Bell’s luminous, intelligent novel . . . is magnificent. It restores my faith in the energy of American fiction.” —Barbara Probst Solomon


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