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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 and editor of Body Parts Magazine and has an MFA from Antioch University Los Angeles.

The House of Erzulie
Kirsten Imani Kasai

ISBN 978-0-9984634-1-4, paperback, 275 pp., $24.95, February 21, 2018

 

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.

Praise for The House of Erzulie

“Blurs the edges between dream and reality, madness and magic, beauty and brutality, darkness and desire, with an unflinching eye and lush, deeply visceral language.”
— Gayle Brandeis, author of The Art of Misdiagnosis and The Selfless Bliss of the Body

“A poetic exploration of the mysteries of love and desire. Intriguing and compelling at every turn, the novel confronts an awful truth about slavery and brings to light a little-discussed facet of African American history.”
— Maisha Wester, author of African American Gothic: Screams from Shadowed Places

“From sensuality/passion to the stark cruelties of slavery, Kasai weaves her word magic from the first page to the final page. You will enter this world, and emerge changed.” — Alma Luz Villanueva, author of Song of the Golden Scorpion