MyAmericanFuture

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Friday, March 28, 2014

March 28, 2014: Caribbean Connections: Edwidge Danticat

[In this month of spring breaks, lots of young (and not so young) Americans have likely made their way down to the Caribbean. But for this week’s series, I’ll be considering some of the ways in which the US and the Caribbean are connected by far more than just travel itineraries. Add your thoughts and connections in comments, please!]

On five of the many amazing books by one of the most talented and interesting Caribbean American authors (she was born in Haiti and moved to New York to join her parents at the age of 12):
1)      Breath, Eyes, Memory (1994): Danticat published her debut novel when she was only 25, and it’s stunningly powerful and affecting.

2)      The Dew Breaker (2004): I read this linked story collection/novel for the first time to include it in my next book project, and was blown away. One of the most complex and potent 21st century  novels thus far.

3)      Brother I’m Dying (2007): Danticat’s autobiography/family memoir was a finalist for the National Book Award, and deservedly so.

4)      Behind the Mountain (2002): Danticat’s first young adult novel walks a fine line very impressively, maintaining her complex themes but doing so pitch-perfectly for that younger audience.

5)      Claire of the Sea Light (2013): I haven’t had the chance to read Danticat’s newest novel yet—but with a track record like this, I know I’ll enjoy it when I do!
Of all the Caribbean connections I could highlight, I’m not sure any is more worth sharing than such a unique and talented voice. Check her out!
March recap this weekend,
Ben
PS. What do you think? Other connections you’d share?

3 comments:

  1. I, too, loved Breath, Eyes, Memory -- sad and lovely and sad stories of love and violation and hope. Kric? Krac! (1996) the call and response to stories -- beautiful, Edwidge is not afraid of the dark side. One of my all time favorites is Farming of Bones (1998). It's a love story set in the 1930s when Haitian workers labored in the Dominican cane fields. Nasty place to work. Trujillo (dictator of the DR at the time) decides to massacre tens of thousands of Haitians. The story of work, and love, and flight, and peril. Trujillo's thugs identified Haitians because they couldn't pronounce the Spanish word for parsley correctly -- it was called the Parsley Massacre http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-19880967 Danticat is an amazing writer.

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  2. Thanks Anna! *Farming* makes for a really interesting read alongside Alvarez's *In the Time of the Butterflies* and Diaz's *Brief Wondrous Life*--a Trujillo trilogy!

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  3. Yes it does, at least for Butterflies -- I must put Diaz on my reading list.

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