Thursday, March 18, 2010

Brother, I'm Dying - Edwidge Danticat

I've been having trouble keeping up with my blog - with an increased work load and more travel, it has been difficult to find time to sit down and reflect on the books I've been reading. Luckily, though, I've still had time to read. With everything going on in Haiti recently, I've found myself wanting to learn more about the country. Since I'm not very good with reading news reports or history books, I turned to one of my favorite novelists, Edwidge Danticat. I picked this one up from the library, having no idea what it was about. This is Danticat's own story - of her childhood in Haiti - growing up with her brother, away from her parents who had made their way to the United States in hopes of setting up a better life for the entire family. It is a story of Danticat's hard-working and proud father, as well as her uncle, the man she knew as her father for all those years back in Haiti. As Danticat finds herself unwittingly torn between her loyalties for the two men, she also finds herself torn between her two countries - at a time when finding herself and understanding life take on a whole new meaning. At times it seemed like Danticat was trying to do too much - give a historical perspective on Haiti, come to terms with her childhood and her relationship with her family, understanding what it meant to have two families, dealing with the illness and potential deaths of her father and brother, understanding the relationship between the brothers, addressing the issue of immigration...each time I felt myself drawn to a character of part of her story, she moved on to something else. But, each piece is told with compasion and beauty - and it was worth it to learn something about Danticat's amazing life, as well as to get a flavor of the country she so clearly loves.

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