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On the sun-drenched island of Haiti in the 1970s, under the shadow of “Baby Doc” Duvalier’s notorious regime, locals eke out an existence as servants, bartenders and panderers to the white elite. Fanfan, Charlie, and Legba, aware of the draw of their adolescent, black bodies, seduce rich, middle-aged white tourists looking for respite from their colourless jobs and marriages.

These “relationships” mirror the power struggle inherent in all transactions in Port-au-Prince’s seedy back streets. Heading South takes us into the world of artists, rappers, Voodoo priests, hotel owners, uptight Parisian journalists and partner-swapping Haitian lovers, all desperately trying to balance happiness with survival.

Made into an award-winning film starring Charlotte Rampling, this provocative novel, translated for the first time into English, explores the lines between sexual liberation and exploitation, artistic freedom and appropriation, independence and colonialism.

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