While researching in Nantes, a port city enriched by the slave trade, celebrated French novelist Fabienne Kanor came across a chilling report written in 1774 by the commander of a slave ship, Le Soleil. Captain Louis Mosnier recounted the loss of valuable "cargo" when fourteen African women escaped from the ship's hold to leap overboard rather than face enslavement. Half of them drowned or were eaten by sharks.
From this tragic incident, Kanor has composed a powerful, polyphonic novel in which each woman tells her own vivid story. Their disparate lives from differing cultures, conditions, and perspectives intersect through their violent mistreatment, profound sense of disorientation, and collective act of resistance. These intertwined narratives reveal the brutalizing effects of slavery, not only on the victim but also on the oppressor: the master can no more escape its dehumanizing effects than can the slave.
Fabienne Kanor. Translated by Lynn E. Palermo