Ready to Burst follows the lives of two young men and their individual attempts to make sense of the deeply troubled society surrounding them. An informed critique of the “brain drain” prompted by the Duvalier dictatorship, Ready to Burst is, in Frankétienne’s words, a portrait of “the extreme bitterness of doom in the face of the blind machinery of power.” Widely recognized as Haiti’s most important literary figure and an outspoken challenger of political oppression, Frankétienne was a candidate for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2009. The New York Times has called Frankétienne “the Father of Haitian Letters.”
About the Author
• Author Bio: Born in 1936 in Ravine-Sèche, Haiti, Frankétienne is a prolific novelist, painter, playwright, musician and poet. Widely recognized as Haiti's most important literary figure and an outspoken challenger of political oppression, Frankétienne was a candidate for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2009. The New York Times has called Frankétienne "the Father of Haitian Letters." He has a unique style, often blending French and Haitian Creole and inventing new words.
• Translator: Kaiama L. Glover received a B.A. in French History and Literature and Afro-American Studies from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in French and Romance Philology from Columbia University. She is now an associate professor of French at Barnard College. Professor Glover's book, Haiti Unbound: A Spiralist Challenge to the Postcolonial Canon (Liverpool UP 2010), addresses the general issue of canon formation in the francophone Caribbean and the particular fate of the Haitian Spiralist authors vis-à-vis this canon.
"A Haitian novel about friendship, politics and artistic theory.... Frankétienne writes with a savage beauty about politics, art, and the roles of men and women in a turbulent world." — Kirkus Reviews
"Ready to Burst is a gorgeous, explosive book filled to the brim with genius and fantasy, with surreal dreams and memories. Open it anywhere and it will astonish you." — Amy Wilentz, Chicago Tribune
"The relationship between Raynand and his friend Paulin, a novelist obsessed with Spiralist ideology, is central. Paulin is writing a novel himself and it bears remarkable similarities to Ready To Burst. In other hands, this meta-staging of a drama amid a literary manifesto might risk a descent into pomposity and obfuscation, but Frankétienne has a deftness of touch pleasingly reminiscent of Roberto Bolaño. In Glover’s fine translation we can only hope that the “Father of Haitian Letters” will finally reach the wider audience he deserves." — The Times Literary Supplement
• "His work can speak to the most intellectual person in the society as well as the most humble. It's a very generous kind of genius he has, one I can't imagine Haitian literature ever existing without." -- Edwidge Danticat
"A whirlwind of a book by the master of Haitian letters" — The Daily Beast
"[Frankétienne] has long been considered one of the most invigorating Caribbean authors . . . Ready to Burst marks the first, long overdue, appearance in the United States of the energetic founder of literary 'spiralism' . . . [Ready to Bust] consists of three at once intersecting and merging lives, and their single, compelling, intricately structured story is told in resourceful, oft-poetic language." -- The Arts Fuse
"Ready to Burst is a vital, impressive work." -- Michael A. Orthofer, complete-review
• "The "burst" in "Ready to Burst", also announces the eruption onto the scene of one of literature's great figures [...] a magician of technique and feeling, in the tradition of a great family of writers like James Joyce, João Guimarães Rosa et Osman Lins." Rafael Lucas in his preface to the 2004 French edition of "Ready to Burst"
• "Each of Frankétienne's words builds a world of which every Haitian dreams." Emmelie Prophete, Haitian-American writer (Interview w/Huffington Post)
• "Frankétienne speaks like an educated man [...] but also like a friend and a citizen of the world at peace with himself and with others." Annick Chalifour, l'Express.
• "It is Frankétienne's audacity in his writing - his charming ability to calmly bring his interlocutor into his initially terrifying world [...] which makes him such an incredible writer and persona". Alessandra Benedicty, Professor at the City College of New York (Interview w/ Huffington Post)