I want to learn all I can, live as wisely as I can, and savor every moment on the journey.
Earlier this year I read I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem by Maryse Condé (translated by Richard Philcox), the moving story of a Caribbean slave whose owners bring her to Puritan New England, where she experiences the cruelty of the Salem Witch Trials. As a mock epic, the story is more representative than realistic, and it portrays human feelings and issues on a grand scale.
The emotionally charged portrayal of Tituba’s sufferings made the book a difficult read for me; I had to make a great effort to recover my normal mood after each session of reading the book. But at the same time I enjoyed the book for its literary features, information about this era in history, and highly interesting settings.
Here is a quotable passage from the book, spoken by Tituba as she describes her homesickness for her native land:
“How strange it is, this love of our own country. We carry it in us like our blood and vital organs. We only need to be separated from our native land to feel a pain that never loses its grip welling up inside us.”
I also loved this statement from the author in an interview printed in the book’s Afterword:
(“Which of your novels do you like best and why?”) “That is a question that you should never ask, because a novelist cannot like his or her novels. They are so far from the ideals in mind that it is a constant disappointment to reread them.”
I can relate to that!