Originally published on March 27, 2018 on Graveyard Shift Sisters
Historical Fiction Imbued with the Uncanny: Obsessions and Racial Guilt on an 1850s Plantation
The House of Erzulie tells the eerily intertwined stories of an ill-fated young couple in the 1850s and the troubled historian who discovers their writings in the present day. Emilie St. Ange, daughter of a Creole slaveowning family in Louisiana, rebels against her parents by embracing spiritualism and advocating the abolition of slavery. Isidore, her biracial, French-born husband, is horrified by the brutalities of plantation life and becomes unhinged by an obsessive affair with a notorious New Orleans vodou practitioner.Emilie’s and Isidore’s letters and journals are interspersed with sections narrated by Lydia Mueller, an architectural historian whose fragile mental health further deteriorates as she reads. Imbued with a sense of the uncanny and the surreal, The House of Erzulie also alludes to the very real horrors of slavery as it draws on the long tradition of the African-American gothic novel.
|Kirsten Imani Kasai|
Author Kirsten Imani Kasai, a biracial feminist author with Southern roots, has published in a range of literary styles, including the speculative fiction novels Ice Song and Tattoo (both from Random House). She is the publisher of Body Parts Magazine.