Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Wedding in Haiti: The Story of a Friendship by Julia Alvarez

Cruel dictators, violent gangs, disasterous earthquakes, poverty, and disease are the prevailing topics in most discussions of Haiti. Novelist Julia Alvarez has witnessed all of this from her coffee farm in the neighboring Dominican Republic, but she has seen reason for hope in the Haitian people. She recounts two driving trips in a pickup truck into Haiti with her warm-hearted husband and some of her Haitian workers in A Wedding in Haiti: The Story of a Friendship.

Central to the story is Piti, a Haitian that Alvarez has seen grow from a boy into a man. When he was just a boy, she made the casual remark that someday she would attend his wedding. In August 2009, Piti called her on short notice to remind her of her pledge. She cancelled all her appointments and flew from her Vermont home back to the island of Hispanola to take a trip across the border. The first trip is a mostly entertaining look at rural Haiti. The second taken after the 2010 earthquake that destroyed much of Port-Au-Prince is a short report of the state of the Haitian people in and away from the epicenter of the capital city.

Throughout both, Alvarez saw resilience amid the despair and devotion to family. Readers who enjoy peeks into other cultures will like this quick-reading book.

Alvarez, Julia. A Wedding in Haiti: The Story of a Friendship. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2012. 287p. ISBN 9781616201302.

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