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: Fiction. Caribbean Studies. Translated from the French by Dolores A. Schaefer. VALE OF TEARS is a stark, meditative, and vivid exploration of Coralie Santeuil's life through a series of flashbacks she has on New Year's eve as she makes fourteen stops while walking from one end of the busy city of Port-au-Prince to the other in a last quest to save her life and retain her dignity. Although the novel is set in the period around the Second World War, it is in many ways a book about contemporary Haiti. We pause to wonder what happens to the privileged when their world disintegrates. We contemplate thesurvival skills of the poor. Vale of Tears offers a critical reading of the class system and corruption which plague the country. Paulette Poujol-Oriol is one of Haiti's most celebrated novelists.