Hadriana in All My Dreams by René Depestre

Hadriana in All My Dreams, winner of the prestigious Prix Renaudot, takes place primarily during Carnival in 1938 in the Haitian village of Jacmel. A beautiful young French woman, Hadriana, is about to marry a Haitian boy from a prominent family. But on the morning of the wedding, Hadriana drinks a mysterious potion and collapses at the altar. Transformed into a zombie, her wedding becomes her funeral. She is buried by the town, revived by an evil sorcerer, and then disappears into popular legend.

Set against a backdrop of magic and eroticism, and recounted with delirious humor, the novel raises universal questions about race and sexuality. The reader comes away enchanted by the marvelous reality of Haiti’s Vodou culture and convinced of Depestre’s lusty claim that all beings–even the undead ones–have a right to happiness and true love.

From the introduction by Edwidge Danticat:
Despestre offers us the kind of tale we rarely get in the hundreds of zombie stories featuring Haitians, stories set both inside and outside of Haiti. In Hadriana in All My Dreams we get both langaj–the secret language of Haitian Vodou–as well as the type of descriptive, elegiac, erotic, and satirical language, and the artistic license needed to create this most nuanced and powerful novel.

Representation Includes

  • Female central character who expresses attraction regardless of gender, and has sexual experiences with women and men


  • Winner of the Prix Renaudot


Where to Find


  • Originally published in French in 1988
  • Original title: Hadriana dans tous mes rêves
  • Translated into English in 2017 by Kaima L. Glover
  • ISBN13: 9781617755552

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