New book: La coulée de la Rivière Blanche


Louis Boutrin’s La coulée de la Rivière Blanche [The Flow of the White River (Éditions Edilivre, 2009)] links two specific moments in Saint-Pierre, Martinique: one historical— the events of May 8, 1902, when Mt. Pelée erupted and destroyed the city called “The Little Paris of the Antilles,” leaving 30,000 dead and only one survivor (Louis Cyparis)— and the other fictional— the Centennial Commemoration of the “volcanic apocalypse” on May 8, 2002, when Eva, married to an eminent volcanologist, meets and falls in love with Manuel, a mountain guide, on the slopes of Mt. Pelée.

As Boutrin suggests, “this novel could be the banal love story between a white woman and a black man, if the events did not take place in Saint-Pierre, the martyr city where racial discrimination was particularly marked.” The review asks, “After the speech on Race in America, delivered in Philadelphia by Barack Obama on March 18, 2008, one must ask, is the racial question is posed with the same acuity in the French Antilles? A century later, can love between a békée and the grandson of a slave prevail in the midst of the racial conflicts that abound in our contemporary societies?

A widely published author and a dedicated ecologist, Louis Boutrin is publication director of La Tribune des Antilles (see His experience as regional advisor has afforded him “a critical but constructive gaze” on the development of major institutions and regional projects in Martinique. Some of his other works include Au-delà des discours: Une volonté pour le pays Martinique (winner of the Prix Arc-en-ciel du Livre, 2005) and, coauthored with Raphaël Confiant, Chronique d’un empoisonnement annoncé. Le scandale du chlordécone aux Antilles françaises, 1972-2002 (2007) and Chlordécone: 12 mesures pour sortir de la crise (2007). La coulée de la Rivière Blanche has been nominated for the prestigious Grand Prix Littéraire des Caraïbes 2009.

For full review (in French), book cover, and more information on the author, see

For purchasing information, see

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