Skip to main content

In the Palm of Darkness: A Novel

About the Book

In the Palm of Darkness: A Novel

In the Palm of Darkness brings together two men, each of them hunters, from different worlds. Victor, a respected scholar and expert on amphibians, has come to Haiti in search of what may be the last existing eleutherodactylus sanguineus, or blood frog. Thierry is a local Haitian guide who grew up hunting zombies, or ghosts, in the jungles and hillsides of his native country. As the two men traverse Haiti's desolate landscape, they tell each other of their past life and loves, entrancing one another other with their stories. But in the quest for their elusive prey they stumble upon gruesome evidence that the area they're searching is a hideout for murderous macoutes, Haitian thugs and drugrunners who are using the hillside to store their shipments.

While Thierry tries to dissuade Victor from pursuing his frog, the scientist tries to apply some logic, some natural order to the threat they face from these men. "Nothing very serious," he says, "can happen to a man when all he looks for, all he wants, is a harmless little frog." But in this dangerous country, murder and violence are part of the natural order. Montero parallels this truth with another mysterious phenomenon, including the sudden worldwide extinction of various types of frogs. These disappearances are beyond the comprehension of even the most learned herpetologists and ecologists. But in Thierry's world, life and death, magic and science, love and hate, are all seamlessly intertwined. Montero's exploration of the seemingly disparate realms of science and spirituality shows us how each has its hold on the human and natural world.

In the Palm of Darkness: A Novel
by Mayra Montero

  • Publication Date: June 23, 1998
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial
  • ISBN-10: 0060929065
  • ISBN-13: 9780060929060