Among the African pantheon of the Orichasùdeities and messengers often inscrutable to the Western mindùstands Chang≤, god of fire, war, and thunder. In Manuel Zapata OlivellaÆs four-hundred-year epic of the African American experience, first published in 1983 as Chang≤, el gran putas, Chang≤ both curses the muntuùthe peopleùfor betraying their own kind and challenges them to liberate not only themselves but all of humanity.
In luminous verse and prose, Zapata Olivella conveys the breadth of heroism, betrayal, and suffering common to the history of people of African descent in the Western hemisphere. Ranging from Brazil to New England but primarily turning his wrath on the Caribbean centers of the slave trade, Chang≤ inhabits personas as diverse as Benkos Biojo, Henri Christophe, Sim≤n Bolφvar, JosΘ Marφa Morelos, the Aleijadinho, Marcus Garvey, and Malcolm X. His message is one of vengeance, but also one of hope.
Readers and critics will relish the opportunity to at last experience Zapata OlivellaÆs masterpiece in English and to appreciate this extraordinary tapestry, woven from equal strands of myth and history.