In Walking on Fire, Beverly Bell, an activist and an expert on Haitian social movements, brings together thirty-eight oral histories from a diverse group of Haitian women. The interviewees include, for example, a former prime minister, an illiterate poet, a leading feminist theologian, and a vodou dancer. Defying victim status despite gender- and state-based repression, they tell how Haiti's poor and dispossessed women have fought for their personal and collective survival.
The women's powerfully moving accounts of horror and heroism can best be characterized by the Creole word istwa, which means both "story" and "history." They combine theory with case studies concerning resistance, gender, and alternative models of power. Photographs of the women who have lived through Haiti's recent past accompany their words to further personalize the interviews in Walking on Fire.
Edwidge Danticat’s The Art of Death: Writing the Final Story is at once a personal account of her mother dying from cancer and a deeply considered reckoning with the ways that other writers have approached death in their own work. “Writing has been the primary way I have tried to make sense of my losses,” Danticat notes in her introduction. “I have been writing about death for as long as I have been writing.” The book moves outward from the shock of her mother’s diagnosis and sifts through Danticat’s writing life and personal history, all the while shifting fluidly from examples that range from Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude to Toni Morrison’s Sula. The narrative, which continually circles the many incarnations of death from individual to large-scale catastrophes, culminates in a beautiful, heartrending prayer in the voice of Danticat’s mother. A moving tribute and a work of astute criticism, The Art of Death is a book that will profoundly alter all who encounter it.
Growing up in Haiti, Edwidge Danticat kept well clear of carnival—terrified by the stories of danger and debauchery that her uncle told her. Decades later, a grown woman and accomplished author, she returns home to find out what she’s been missing.
In this selection from After the Dance, Danticat fuses her present-day observations with her own childhood memories and weaves a deeply personal reflection on the home she left behind. Through conversations with other attendees and her own deft reporting, she takes readers into the very heart of the festival. A Walk Through Carnival is as much memoir as it is travelogue; and, in these pages, the National Book Critics Circle Award–winning author of Brother, I’m Dying brings the electric spirit of carnival vividly to life.
An eBook short.
Histoire personnelle, mais aussi réflexion sur la création en exil, apportant la preuve qu'il n'est de vraie patrie, pour l'écrivain, que la littérature.
First, Best, and Best-Selling
The Best American series is the premier annual showcase for the country’s finest short fiction and nonfiction. Each volume’s series editor selects notable works from hundreds of magazines, journals, and websites . A special guest editor, a leading writer in the field, then chooses the best twenty or so pieces to publish. This unique system has made the Best American series the most respected—and most popular—of its kind.
The Best American Essays 2011 includes
Hilton Als, Katy Butler, Toi Derricotte, Christopher Hitchens,
Pico Iyer, Charlie LeDuff, Chang-Rae Lee, Lia Purpura, Zadie Smith,
Reshma Memon Yaqub, and others
A Miami Herald Best Book of the Year
In this deeply personal book, the celebrated Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat reflects on art and exile.
Inspired by Albert Camus and adapted from her own lectures for Princeton University’s Toni Morrison Lecture Series, here Danticat tells stories of artists who create despite (or because of) the horrors that drove them from their homelands. Combining memoir and essay, these moving and eloquent pieces examine what it means to be an artist from a country in crisis.
BONUS MATERIAL: This edition includes an excerpt from Edwidge Danticat's Claire of the Sea Light.
"This anthology will give American readers a complex and nuanced portrait of the real Haiti not seen on the evening news and introduce them to some original and wonderful writers."
"Danticat has succeeded in assembling a group portrait of Haitian culture and resilience that is cause for celebration."
"A solid contribution to the [noir] series, especially for its showcasing of a setting not commonly portrayed in crime fiction."
"Danticat has put together a collection possessing classic noir elements--crimes and criminals and evil deeds only sometimes punished--but also something else, perhaps uniquely Haitian too."
--Los Angeles Times
"The characters that emerge in the anthology are divergent figures, alienated by exile, thriving in the diaspora and devastated by limited choices. Their stories are multi-layered, thrilling and necessary."
"Who can ever judge how important Danticat has been to Americans' understanding and re-evaluating Haiti's position and role in the hemisphere? Not just as a novelist and essayist in her own right, but as editor and guiding force behind this collection of short stories and the re-publication and English translation of the Chauvet triptych, the Haitian-born Danticat has brought her country's literature back into the world of English-speakers. Filled with delights and surprises, Haiti Noir, taken as a whole, provides a profound portrait of the country, from its crises to its triumphs, from the tiny bouks of the countryside to the shanties of the sprawling bidonvilles. Danticat herself has a lovely story in the collection, and permits two distinguished foreign writers on Haiti, Madison Smartt Bell and Mark Kurlansky, to slide in there among all the brilliant Haitians."
"Haiti Noir...showcases the diversity, humour, beauty and originality of 'Haitian' writing."
Akashic Books continues its groundbreaking series of original noir anthologies, launched in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir. Each story is set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the city of the book.
Brand-new stories by: Edwidge Danticat, Rodney Saint-Éloi, Madison Smartt Bell, Gary Victor, M.J. Fievre, Mark Kurlansky, Marvin Victor, Josaphat-Robert Large, Marie Lily Cerat, Yanick Lahens, Louis-Philipe Dalembert, Kettly Mars, Marie Ketsia Theodore-Pharel, Evelyne Trouillot, Katia D. Ulysse, Ibi Aanu Zoboi, Nadine Pinede, and Patrick Sylvain.
From the introduction by Edwidge Danticat:
"I began working on this anthology about a year before January 12, 2010, when Haiti was struck by its worst natural disaster in over two hundred years. The world knows now that more than two hundred thousand people died and over a million lost their homes in Haiti's capital and the surrounding cities of Léogâne, Petit–Goâve, and Jacmel. As I am writing these words, survivors remain huddled by the thousands in displacement camps, most shielding themselves from intermittent rain with nothing but wooden posts and bedsheets.
Even before the earthquake, life was not easy in Haiti. There was always the risk of dying from hunger, an infectious disease, a natural disaster, or a crime. But there was also hope, laughter, and boundless creativity. Haitian creativity has always been one of the country’s most identifiable survival traits. Whether expressed in vibrant and colorful paintings, double entendre--filled spiritual or party music, or the poignant, humorous, erotic, lyrical (and yes, also dark) short stories and novels of its writers, Haiti's more nuanced and complex face often comes across in its arts...
I can honestly say that, in spite of the difficult circumstances in Haiti right now, I have never felt a greater sense of joy working on any collective project than I have on this book."
Edwidge Danticat had long been scared off from Carnival by a loved one, who spun tales of people dislocating hips from gyrating with too much abandon, losing their voices from singing too loudly, going deaf from the clamor of immense speakers, and being punched, stabbed, pummeled, or fondled by other lustful revelers. Now an adult, she resolves to return and exorcise her Carnival demons. She spends the week before Carnival in the area around Jacmel, exploring the rolling hills and lush forests and meeting the people who live and die in them. During her journeys she traces the heroic and tragic history of the island, from French colonists and Haitian revolutionaries to American invaders and home-grown dictators. Danticat also introduces us to many of the performers, artists, and organizers who re-create the myths and legends that bring the Carnival festivities to life. When Carnival arrives, we watch as she goes from observer to participant and finally loses herself in the overwhelming embrace of the crowd.
Part travelogue, part memoir, this is a lyrical narrative of a writer rediscovering her country along with a part of herself. It’s also a wonderful introduction to Haiti’s southern coast and to the true beauty of Carnival.