"Creole Folktales," by Patrick Chamoiseau. 112 pages. New...

Book Brief

March 26, 1995

"Creole Folktales," by Patrick Chamoiseau. 112 pages. New York: New Press. $16.95.

Whom up a batch of pure delight. Simmer. Chop finely into words. On the side, blend equal parts of whimsy, wit and wisdom. Mix. Garnish like crazy. Spike with an indecent amount of Caribbean hot sauce. Serve. Stand back. This is Chamoiseau's recipe, and if there's a tastier dish in all of folklore, please let us know. Chamoiseau, one of the last and surely one of the grandest of the old-fashioned storytellers, is a native of Martinique. His tales are recalled from childhood, passed along from a time when life was harsh, pleasures were few and imagination, gaudy, delicious and malign, was just about the only escape from the alleged masters. Not a word goes astray in what have been called "stories of survival," but also, more aptly, "fairy tales with an attitude."

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