“Les Rochers de poudre d’or” by Nathacha Appanah

“Les Rochers de poudre d’or” was the debut novel of famed Mauritian/French author Natacha Appanah. After reading her latest prix Goncourt-nominated work, “Tropique de la violence”,  I was interested in reading more by this author, and was glad to find this volume in my local library.

“Les Rochers…” is a work of historical fiction. It narrates the story of indian indentured labourers who left difficult conditions in India to settle in…well, more difficult conditions…on the island of Mauritius.

Fooled into thinking that they would be settled in an island where ‘gold could be found under all of the rocks’, they instead found themselves trading one set of miserable conditions for another; one yoke of slavery for another…

Similar to the narrative device used in “Tropique de la violence”, Natacha Appanah tells her tale by jumping from one character to another, and by tracing their journey from their home villages, to the migrant depot, at sea and finally at work on the island. We thus learn about the fates of several, very different migrants to Mauritius; everyone from a care-free card shark to a former Queen.

And as was the case with “Tropique de la violence”, Appanah’s prose is sparse and action-packed (almost journalistic). The narrative moves speedily along (not much time is spent on descriptions and other frills), and the book was at no point boring.

I found the novel to be a very interesting, well recounted look at a period of history that I did not (but wanted to) know about. I actually preferred this book to “Tropique…” and recommend it.

My rating: **** (very good)

Advertisements Share this:
Like this:Like Loading... Related