When her mother leaves Haiti to find work in the US, Sophie is raised by her aunt. Their parting, years later, when her mother sends for her, is as wrenching as the reunion in New York. Though she barely knows her mother they both carry secrets from their homeland that will haunt them forever.
From the best-selling author of The Dew Breaker, a major work of nonfiction: a powerfully moving family story that centers around the men closest to her heart-her father, Mira, and his older brother, Joseph.
From the age of four, Edwidge Danticat came to think of her uncle Joseph, a charismatic pastor, as her “second father,” when she was placed in his care after her parents left Haiti for a better life in America. Listening to his sermons, sharing coconut-flavored ices on their walks through town, roaming through the house that held together many members of a colorful extended family, Edwidge grew profoundly attached to Joseph. He was the man who “knew all the verses for love.”
And so she experiences a jumble of emotions when, at twelve, she joins her parents in New York City. She is at last reunited with her two youngest brothers, and with her mother and father, whom she has struggled to remember. But she must also leave behind Joseph and the only home she's ever known.
Edwidge tells of making a new life in a new country while fearing for the safety of those still in Haiti as the political situation deteriorates.Â But Brother I'm Dying soon becomes a terrifying tale of good people caught up in events beyond their control. Late in 2004, his life threatened by an angry mob, forced to flee his church,Â the frail, eighty-one-year-old Joseph makes his way to Miami, where he thinks he will be safe.Â Instead,Â he is detained by U.S. Customs, held by the Department of Homeland Security, brutally imprisoned, and dead within days. It was a story that made headlines around the world. His brother, Mira, will soon join him in death, but not before he holds hope in his arms: Edwidge's firstborn, who will bear his name-and the family's stories, both joyous and tragic-into the next generation.
Told with tremendous feeling, this is a true-life epic on an intimate scale: a deeply affecting story of home and family-of two men's lives and deaths, and of a daughter's great love for them both.
"Create dangerously, for people who read dangerously. This is what I've always thought it meant to be a writer. Writing, knowing in part, that no matter how trivial your words may seem, someday, somewhere, someone may risk his or her life to read them."-Create Dangerously
In this deeply personal book, the celebrated Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat reflects on art and exile, examining what it means to be an immigrant artist from a country in crisis. Inspired by Albert Camus' lecture, "Create Dangerously," and combining memoir and essay, Danticat tells the stories of artists, including herself, who create despite, or because of, the horrors that drove them from their homelands and that continue to haunt them. Danticat eulogizes an aunt who guarded her family's homestead in the Haitian countryside, a cousin who died of AIDS while living in Miami as an undocumented alien, and a renowned Haitian radio journalist whose political assassination shocked the world. Danticat writes about the Haitian novelists she first read as a girl at the Brooklyn Public Library, a woman mutilated in a machete attack who became a public witness against torture, and the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat and other artists of Haitian descent. Danticat also suggests that the aftermaths of natural disasters in Haiti and the United States reveal that the countries are not as different as many Americans might like to believe.
Create Dangerously is an eloquent and moving expression of Danticat's belief that immigrant artists are obliged to bear witness when their countries of origin are suffering from violence, oppression, poverty, and tragedy.
An anthology of stories
Featuring brand-new stories by: Edwidge Danticat, Rodney Saint-Eloi, Madison Smartt Bell, Gary Victor, M.J. Fièvre, Marvin Victor, Yanick Lahens, Louis-Philipe Dalembert, Kettly Mars, Marie Ketsia Theodore-Pharel, Evelyne Trouillot, Katia Ulysse, Ibi Aanu Zoboi, Nadine Pinede, and others.
Haiti has a tragic history and continues to be one of the most destitute places on the planet, especially in the aftermath of the earthquake. Here, however, Danticat reveals that even while the subject matter remains dark, the caliber of Haitian writing is of the highest order.
Akashic recruits Danticat, one of the truly great contemporary writers, to edit this timely volume featuring stories set both before and after the devastating earthquake.
A collection of stories
When Haitians tell a story, they say "Krik?" and the eager listeners answer "Krak!" In Krik? Krak! In her second novel, Edwidge Danticat establishes herself as the latest heir to that narrative tradition with nine stories that encompass both the cruelties and the high ideals of Haitian life. They tell of women who continue loving behind prison walls and in the face of unfathomable loss; of a people who resist the brutality of their rulers through the powers of imagination. The result is a collection that outrages, saddens, and transports the reader with its sheer beauty.
The Butterfly's Way: Voices from the Haitian Dyaspora in the United States
In four sections-Childhood, Migration, First Generation, and Return-the contributors to this anthology write powerfully, often hauntingly, of their lives in Haiti and the United States. Jean-Robert Cadet's description of his Haitian childhood as a restavec-a child slave-in Port-au-Prince contrasts with Dany Laferriere's account of a ten-year-old boy and his beloved grandmother in Petit-Gove. We read of Marie Helene Laforest's realization that while she was white in Haiti, in the United States she is black. Patricia Benoit tells us of a Haitian woman refugee in a detention center who has a simple need for a red dress-dignity. The reaction of a man who has married the woman he loves is the theme of Gary Pierre-Pierre's "The White Wife"; the feeling of alienation is explored in "Made Outside" by Francie Latour. The frustration of trying to help those who have remained in Haiti and of the do-gooders who do more for themselves than the Haitians is described in Babette Wainwright's "Do Something for Your Soul, Go to Haiti." The variations and permutations of the divided self of the Haitian emigrant are poignantly conveyed in this unique anthology.
PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction (nominee)
From the universally acclaimed author of Breath, Eyes, memory and Krik?Krak! (both Opera's Book Club selections), a powerful new work of fiction that explores the trials and reconciliations in the life of a man known as a 'dew breaker,' a torturer, whose past crimes in the country of his birth, lie hidden beneath his new American relaity. In Haiti in the dictatorial 1960's, Manhattan in the 1970s, Brooklyn and Queens today, we meet the dew breaker's family, neighbours, and victims. An unforgettable, deeply resonant book – of love, remorse, history, and hope, of rebellions both personal and political – The Dew Breaker proves once more that in Edwidge Danticat we have a major American writer.
“Breathtaking… With terrifying wit and flowered pungency, Edwidge Danticat has managed over the past 10 years to portray the torment of the Haitian people… In The Dew Breaker, Danticat has written a Haitian truth: prisoners all, even the jailers.” – The New York Times Book Review
“Danticat [is] surely one of contemporary fiction’s most sensitive conveyors of hope’s bittersweet persistence in the midst of poverty and violence.” – The Miami Herald
“Thrillingly topical… [The Dew Breaker] shines… Danticat leads her readers into the underworld. It’s furnished like home.” – Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Stunning… Beautifully written fiction [that] seamlessly blend[s] the personal and political, [and] asks questions about shame and guilt, forgiveness and redemption, and the legacy of violence… haunting.” – USA Today
“Fascinating… Danticat is a fine and serious fiction writer who has slowly grown as an artist with each book she has written.” – Chicago Tribune
“In its varied characters, its descriptive power and its tightly linked images and themes, [The Dew Breaker] is a rewarding and affecting read, rich with insights not just about Haiti but also about the human condition.” – San Francisco Chronicle
“[The Dew Breaker] is, most profoundly, about love’s healing powers. From its marvelous descriptions of place to the gentle opening up of characters, this is a book that engages the imagination.” – Elle
“With her grace and her imperishable humanity… [Danticat] makes sadness beautiful.” – The New York Observer
“Danticat has an emotional imagination capable of evoking empathy for both predator and prey.” – Entertainment Weekly
“With characteristic lyricism and grace, Danticat probes the painful legacy of a time when sons turned against their fathers, children were orphaned, and communities were torn apart.” – The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Delicate and poetic… Danticat [is] more than a storyteller, she’s a writer… Her voice is like an X-Acto knife-precise, sharp and perfect for carving out small details.” – Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Filled with quiet intensity and elegant, thought-provoking prose… An elegiac and powerful novel with a fresh presentation of evil and the healing potential of forgiveness.” – People
“[Danticat] fuses the beauty and tragedy of her native land, a land her characters want to forget and remember all at once.” – Ebony
“In these stories Edwidge Danticat continues to speak eloquently for those who in losing their sorrowful homeland have lost their voices.” – The Boston Globe
“Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat presents simple truths… this, the novelist seems to be saying, is how you understand; here is the primer for survival.” – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution