Gwen Strauss

Fooling the Sun

Kay koule twompe soley men li pa twompe lapli.
A leaky house can fool the sun, but it can't fool the rain.

--Haitian Proverb

The novel is set in Haiti in the late 1960's and early 70's. It is an inter-racial love story between a wealthy American woman and a Haitian man, and the chronicle of a marriage, set against the backdrop of the Duvalier regime.

Santano felt his heart warm. The rains were here at last. Together they would catch the leaks from the roof. Madame’s house had a roof that wept like a woman. And just like a woman with her different sorts of tears, they each had their own character. To Santano these drops were familiar as returning friends. Some were tiny trickles, the long sadness of a difficult secret. Some were just a drop every few minutes, the tears of joy when good news arrives from far away. There were those that came by surprise when there was a west wind. It reminded Santano of the way Annaise might suddenly weep after their lovemaking. Others came only at the very beginning of a storm, angry and fierce. And some poured like a river, like a grieving mother with no end. Together Madame and Santano knew where to look and how to place each pot.
As they moved around the house putting pots and pans in strategic places, and noting where they might have to patch the roof later, Santano told Madame stories about when he was a young boy in a fishing village right near Port-au-Prince. He remembered that once there were pink flamingos that flocked down by the port. He could tell her about the island before the sprawling slums swallowed his village. Now the slums extended right to the water’s edge and snaked up every ravine into the hills. Now there were no fish to catch. Places where once there were trees, because no one thought they could build on such steep terrain, were now crowded with shanty huts, one built on top of the other. Each rain washed a few hundred out to sea.
At least the rains brought water, Santano said. Madame had to buy their drinking water and had it delivered to their house by truck. They kept the boiled water in large clay pots where it stayed cool even on the hottest days.

Selected Works

Juvenile Nonfiction Ages 7-10, Grades 2-5
The True Story of a young Holocaust survivor
Children's picture book
In the early 1950s, newly built interstate highways invited Americans to travel by automobile, but the open road wasn't so open for African-Americans, especially in the South.
Until he meets Marcia, Eric doesn't speak -- the Night Shimmy does all the talking.
Strauss explores the theme of metamorphosis in fairy tales in this collection of poetry.
a series of poems in the form of a sonnet garland
Kay koule twompe soley men li pa twompe lapli. A leaky house can fool the sun, but it can't fool the rain. --Haitian Proverb
The adventure story of a young couple who sail to the Yucatan

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