The book tells the story of Patricia, a white woman, who falls in love with Jean Iritimbi, a Central African without papers in Canada. Iritimbi moonlights at a hotel where they meet each other for the first time. In order to bring him back to Paris, she steals the passport of an African-American.
Jean Iritimbi, however, did not disclose to Patricia that he had a family back home with his wife and two daughters. By calling them, he learns that they are on their way to join him. They are, however, shipwrecked along the way and there are only a few survivors.
Several voices are heard in the book, which is well documented and characterized by great emotion. Each of the three main characters speaks in turn in a fair voice with simple writing and oral communication. A distinctive and sensitive interpretation of the drama of migrants is offered by this polyphony.
Damas’ first novel, “If You Cross the River”, has received wide international acclaim and was awarded the Prix Rossel in Belgium and the Prix des Cinq Continents de la Francophonie, which honors the expression of cultural diversity and editorial work on the five continents.