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InAfter the Dance, one of Haiti's most renowned daughters returns to her homeland, taking readers on a stunning, exquisitely rendered journey beyond the hedonistic surface of Carnival and into its deep heart. Edwidge Danticat had long been scared off from Carnival by a loved one, who spun tales of people dislocating hips from gyrating with too much abandon, losing their voices from singing too loudly, going deaf from the clamor of immense speakers, and being punched, stabbed, pummeled, or fondled by other lustful revelers. Now an adult, she resolves to return and exorcise her Carnival demons. She spends the week before Carnival in the area around Jacmel, exploring the rolling hills and lush forests and meeting the people who live and die in them. During her journeys she traces the heroic and tragic history of the island, from French colonists and Haitian revolutionaries to American invaders and home-grown dictators. Danticat also introduces us to many of the performers, artists, and organizers who re-create the myths and legends that bring the Carnival festivities to life. When Carnival arrives, we watch as she goes from observer to participant and finally loses herself in the overwhelming embrace of the crowd. Part travelogue, part memoir, this is a lyrical narrative of a writer rediscovering her country along with a part of herself. It's also a wonderful introduction to Haiti's southern coast and to the true beauty of Carnival.
Danticat brings Haiti's beautiful and heroic queen to life. Queen Anacaona's island was peaceful until the Spanish explorers conquered it in 1492. The conquistadors were cruel to Anacaona's people, and when they revolted, their queen was resigned to a tragic fate. Illustrations.
It is election time in Haiti, and bombs are going off in the capital city of Port-au-Prince. During a visit from her home in rural Haiti, Celiane and her mother are nearly killed. Looking at her country with new eyes, Celiane gains a fresh resolve to be reunited with her father in Brooklyn, New York. The harsh winter and concrete landscape of her new home are a shock to Celiane, who witnesses her parents' struggle to earn a living, her brother's uneasy adjustment to American society, and her own encounters with learning difficulties and school violence.
The Best American Series® First, Best, and Best-Selling. The Best American series is the premier annual showcase for the country's finest short fiction and nonfiction. Each volume's series editor selects notable works from hundreds of magazines, journals, and websites. A special guest editor, a leading writer in the field, then chooses the best twenty or so pieces to publish. This unique system has made the Best American series the most respected--and most popular--of its kind. The Best American Essays 2011 includes Hilton Als, Katy Butler, Toi Derricotte, Christopher Hitchens, Pico Iyer, Charlie LeDuff, Chang-Rae Lee, Lia Purpura, Zadie Smith, Reshma Memon Yaqub, and others.
"I come from a place where breath, eyes and memory are one. A place from which you carry your past like the hair on your head." Edwidge Danticat's startlingly mature first novel tells the story of four generations of Haitian women attempting to survive in a world that men have made strange and violent for them. Through the eyes of Sophie Caco we are provided with a vivid portrayal of rural Haiti and insight into life in the Haitian diaspora. Her traumatised mother is far away in the United States, while her beloved Aunt remains in Haiti, enduring both its delights and its poverty and horror. Offering hope through a vision of female solidarity, transcending place and time, Breath, Eyes, Memory is a haunting and luminous novel that will lift your spirit, even as it breaks your heart.
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. 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, the frail, eighty-one-year-old Joseph makes his way to Miami, where he thinks he will be safe. Instead, 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.
In this collection of 33 essays and poems, the experience of the Haitian emigre is described, with the works divided into four sections: childhood, migration, first generation, and return. Each author hauntingly describes their lives in Haiti and the United States.
From the best-selling author of Brother, I'm Dying and The Dew Breaker: a stunning new work of fiction that brings us deep into the intertwined lives of a small seaside town where a little girl, the daughter of a fisherman, has gone missing. Claire Limyè Lanmè--Claire of the Sea Light--is an enchanting child born into love and tragedy in Ville Rose, Haiti. Claire's mother died in childbirth, and on each of her birthdays Claire is taken by her father, Nozias, to visit her mother's grave. Nozias wonders if he should give away his young daughter to a local shopkeeper, who lost a child of her own, so that Claire can have a better life. But on the night of Claire's seventh birthday, when at last he makes the wrenching decision to do so, she disappears. As Nozias and others look for her, painful secrets, haunting memories, and startling truths are unearthed among the community of men and women whose individual stories connect to Claire, to her parents, and to the town itself. Told with piercing lyricism and the economy of a fable, Claire of the Sea Light is a tightly woven, breathtaking tapestry that explores what it means to be a parent, child, neighbor, lover, and friend, while revealing the mysterious bonds we share with the natural world and with one another. Embracing the magic and heartbreak of ordinary life, it is Edwidge Danticat's most spellbinding, astonishing book yet.
A New York Times Notable BookA Miami Herald Best Book of the YearIn this deeply personal book, the celebrated Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat reflects on art and exile. Inspired by Albert Camus and adapted from her own lectures for Princeton University's Toni Morrison Lecture Series, here Danticat tells stories of artists who create despite (or because of) the horrors that drove them from their homelands. Combining memoir and essay, these moving and eloquent pieces examine what it means to be an artist from a country in crisis.From the Trade Paperback edition.
From the universally acclaimed author of Breath, Eyes, Memory and Krik? Krak!, a brilliant, deeply moving work of fiction that explores the world of a "dew breaker"--a torturer--a man whose brutal crimes in the country of his birth lie hidden beneath his new American reality. We meet him late in his life. He is a quiet man, a husband and father, a hardworking barber, a kindly landlord to the men who live in a basement apartment in his home. He is a fixture in his Brooklyn neighborhood, recognizable by the terrifying scar on his face. As the book unfolds, moving seamlessly between Haiti in the 1960s and New York City today, we enter the lives of those around him: his devoted wife and rebellious daughter; his sometimes unsuspecting, sometimes apprehensive neighbors, tenants, and clients. And we meet some of his victims. In the book's powerful denouement, we return to the Haiti of the dew breaker's past, to his last, desperate act of violence, and to his first encounter with the woman who will offer him a form of redemption--albeit imperfect--that will change him forever. The Dew Breaker is a book of interconnected lives--a book of love, remorse, and hope; of rebellions both personal and political; of the compromises we often make in order to move beyond the most intimate brushes with history. Unforgettable, deeply resonant,The Dew Breaker proves once more that in Edwidge Danticat we have a major American writer.
The young Haitian National Book Award nominee tells an epic tale of the 1937 tragedy at the border between Haiti & the Dominican Republic.
Arriving one year after the Haitian-American's first novel (Breath, Eyes, Memory) alerted critics to her compelling voice, these 10 stories, some of which have appeared in small literary journals, confirm Danticat's reputation as a remarkably gifted writer. Examining the lives of ordinary Haitians, particularly those struggling to survive under the brutal Duvalier regime, Danticat illuminates the distance between people's desires and the stifling reality of their lives. A profound mix of Catholicism and voodoo spirituality informs the tales, bestowing a mythic importance on people described in the opening story, "Children of the Sea," as those "in this world whose names don't matter to anyone but themselves." The ceaseless grip of dictatorship often leads men to emotionally abandon their families, like the husband in "A Wall of Fire Rising," who dreams of escaping in a neighbor's hot-air balloon. The women exhibit more resilience, largely because of their insistence on finding meaning and solidarity through storytelling; but Danticat portrays these bonds with an honesty that shows that sisterhood, too, has its power plays. In the book's final piece, "Epilogue: Women Like Us," she writes: "Are there women who both cook and write? Kitchen poets, they call them. They slip phrases into their stew and wrap meaning around their pork before frying it. They make narrative dumplings and stuff their daughter's mouths so they say nothing more." The stories inform and enrich one another, as the female characters reveal a common ancestry and ties to the fictional Ville Rose. In addition to the power of Danticat's themes, the book is enhanced by an element of suspense (we're never certain, for example, if a rickety boat packed with refugees introduced in the first tale will reach the Florida coast). Spare, elegant and moving, these stories cohere into a superb collection.
35 essays written by teenagers, plus writing and revision techniques.
Haiti, long noted for poverty and repression, has a powerful and too-often-overlooked history of resistance. Women in Haiti have played a large role in changing the balance of political and social power, even as they have endured rampant and devastating state-sponsored violence, including torture, rape, abuse, illegal arrest, disappearance, and assassination. In Walking on Fire, Beverly Bell, an activist and an expert on Haitian social movements, brings together thirty-eight oral histories from a diverse group of Haitian women. The interviewees include, for example, a former prime minister, an illiterate poet, a leading feminist theologian, and a vodou dancer. Defying victim status despite gender- and state-based repression, they tell how Haitis poor and dispossessed women have fought for their personal and collective survival. The womens powerfully moving accounts of horror and heroism can best be characterized by the Creole word istwa, which means both "story" and "history. " They combine theory with case studies concerning resistance, gender, and alternative models of power. Photographs of the women who have lived through Haitis recent past accompany their words to further personalize the interviews in Walking on Fire.
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