The history of this novel is as rife with injustice as its contents. Having been famous for not having been read by anyone, the novel is probably not even a novel. The ‘thing’ is very episodic, with only a few reoccurring characters whose lives don’t really amount to a plot. If there is a main character here it would probably have to be the conglomerate of border-dwellers, a sort of brute leviathan, two faced-perhaps, attached to one giant bloody body. The message is anti-absolutist no doubt, but in between you can also hear anti-nationalist possibilities calling out.
“El Masacre se pasa a pie” was perhaps the most intense novelistic treatment of the Parsley massacres of 1937 before recent efforts by Edwidge Danticat. Rum, blood, greed and desperation, Prestol Castillo paints a picture of the border that leaves little room for facile notions of hybridity. There are children of mixed parents here, border-cases and mysteries, but Dominican and Haitian are divided to the core in and through the narrative; not impossible to reconcile, but no piece of cake either. Whenever you think Prestol Castillo might be fudging the issue, he comes back to a history of difference. Whether that history can be substantiated remains outside of the scope of the novel. Two nations are being imagined here… the body remains the problem.