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The Comedians ... Graham Greene (U.S.)
A riveting story of intrigue centering around an English hotelier in Port-au-Prince (the inspiration was the famous Oloffsen Hotel) during the initial Duvalier years. This book was once banned in Haiti.

Masters of the Dew ... Jacques Roumain (Haiti) Known as a "peasant" novel, this book tells the story of a young man who returns from years of work in the sugar cane fields in Cuba to find his country in a state of deforestation, starvation, and despair. Although the story takes place in the thirties, it is just as relevant to contemporary Haitian life.

Breath, Eyes, Memory ... Edwidge Danticat (Haiti)The story of a young woman brought from Haiti to Brooklyn at age 12 to live with her mother who had moved to the U.S. shortly after her birth. Written smoothly and heartwrenchingly, this story paints a vivid picture of rural Haitian life, the beginning of the reign of the Tonton Macoutes, and the cultural struggle of a young woman emerging from a strongly traditional upbringing into American life.

krik? krak! ... Edwidge Danticat (Haiti)
A series of potent short stories, taking place in Haiti and New York during the time of 'Papa Doc' and the Tonton Macoutes. Ms. Danticat writes eloquently for the daughters, mothers, and grandmothers whose lives were taken away from them by rape, prison, miscarriage, murder (and so many of whom can neither read nor write). This is an excellent collection of writing, and important reading for those interested in Haitian life.

Dining with the Dictator ... Dany Laferriere (Haiti) A novel discussing the problems faced during the Duvalier years.

The Kingdom of this World ... Alejo Carpentier (Cuba) A story told by a slave Ti-Noel about the horrific brutalities suffered by the black Haitians under the rule of King Henri-Christophe.

Traveller's Literary Companion - Caribbean ... James Ferguson (England) This collection of essays and brief anthologies of Caribbean literature has an excellent chapter on Haiti, with a brief but well though-out account of Haiti's history, and excerpts from a wide variety of Haitian authors.

Reviews by Anne E. Shroeder, Copyright © - Language Works, 1998
EMail: anne@language-works.com