Thursday, February 14, 2008

Brother, I'm Dying by Edwidge Danticat

Stories from Haiti seem to always involve tragedy, and Brother, I'm Dying by Edwidge Danticat is no exception. The final quarter of the book will break your heart. It may also anger you, for much of what happened to Danticat's very elderly and harmless Uncle Joseph was the result of what appears to be totally unjust U.S. immigration policy toward Haitian refugees. The author suggests that if her uncle had been Cuban, he would have been welcomed into the country. Instead, unbending INS officials finished the work of the Haitian gangs.

Danticat is never sentimental but there is much charm in her storytelling. Readers come to admire both her father who immigrated to New York when she was small and admire her uncle who raised her in Port-au-Prince until she was twelve, at which time she joined her parents in New York. When she arrived, the American city seemed just as dangerous as the capital of Haiti, as her cab-driving father was attacked and threatened on several occasions. His calm, peaceful nature always saved him.

I listened to the audiobook on compact discs read by actress Robin Miles, who does an excellent job with voices and frequent Creole phrases. It is an excellent addition to any library's audio collection and should get many checkouts.

Danticat, Edwidge. Brother, I'm Dying. Knopf, 2007. ISBN 9781400041152

Audiobook on 7 CDs. Recorded Books, 2007. ISBN 9781428166318

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