The Kingdom of This World by Alejo Carpentier
The Kingdom of This World (Spanish: El reino de este mundo) is a novel by Cuban author Alejo Carpentier, published in 1949 in his native Spanish and first translated into English in 1957. A work of historical fiction, it tells the story of Haiti before, during, and after the Haitian Revolution led by Toussaint Louverture, as seen by its central character, Ti Noel, who serves as the novel's connecting thread. Carpentier's work has been influenced by his multi-cultural experience and his passion for the arts, as well as by authors such as Miguel de Cervantes. The novel stems from the author's desire to retrace the roots and history of the New World, and is embedded with what Carpentier calls "lo real maravilloso" or "the marvelous real"—a concept he introduced to the world of literature (not to be confused with magical realism).Throughout the novel, varying perceptions of reality that arise due to cultural differences between its characters are emphasized and contrasted. Carpentier explores hybridization, nature, voodoo, ethnicity, history and destiny, confusion, violence, and sexuality in a style that blends history with fiction and uses repetition to emphasize the cyclical nature of events. The novel was largely well-received with much attention paid to Carpentier's inclusion of magic realism and The Kingdom of This World has been described as an important work in the development of this genre in Caribbean and Latin American literature. However, some technical aspects of his style have been ignored by the academic community, and the novel's narrative organization has been criticized.