Ghosts of Saint-Pierre is a fictional biography based upon the real life of a man who left Saint-Pierre, Martinique a few short years before Mont Pelée buried the city in fire and ash, taking the lives of 30,000 souls, including all of his loved ones.
It is the story of Duane’s own grandfather, Paul Poncy, who as a young man in Saint-Pierre was related to some of the richest and most powerful families of Martinique, families who built their fortunes off of the back of slavery and exploitation. Paul was a man who, in the face of tremendous personal loss, was never able to speak of his birthplace or the mixed race family he left behind.
The novel, part historical biography, part ghost story, part love story, is told from the perspective of a forty year old father about to bury another son, a victim of the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-19. The death has brought to the surface all of the ghosts and memories he thought he had buried forever.
Based on years of research and actual events of Paul Poncy’s life, Ghosts of Saint-Pierre confronts personal grief and the poisonous legacies of slavery and colonialism.
For more information about our novel, including photos, character bios, and bibliography, visit Old Saint Pierre.