Brother, I’m Dying by Edwidge Danticat

imageBrother, I’m Dying is Edwidge Danticat’s memoir of a childhood split between Haiti and the United States, and is also a portrait of the two men who raised her — her father, Mira, and his older brother Joseph.  Danticat moves seamlessly back and forth through time, describing her years living with her uncle and aunt in Port-au-Prince, her adjustment to life in New York, the heartbreak of watching her father’s health decline, and the horror her uncle faced while attempting to flee violence in Haiti at the end of his life.

Quote:
“On the ride to Bel Air, I looked through the cracked windshield of a hired car and saw more people on the now rutted streets than I ever remembered.  On nearly every wall was a mural of a rooster, the symbol of Aristide’s Lavalas Party, or of the American military helicopter on which Aristide had flown back to the national palace.  There were also monuments to losses everywhere: the charred shantytowns of La Saline and Cité Soleil, the busts and friezes of the murdered: a justice minister, a campaign financier and a beloved priest among thousands of others.  Piles of brick and ashes stood where homes and offices had been, places that had been both constructed and destroyed in the time I’d been gone.  Chunks of Port-au-Prince, I realized, had been wholly assembled and disassembled in my absence.”

Author:
Edwidge Danticat is a novelist, memoirist, and screenwriter.  Her published works include Breath, Eyes, Memory; The Dew Breaker; and Claire of the Sea Light, among others.  Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, she moved to the United States at the age of 12.

Published:  2007
Length:  272 pages
Set in:  Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Brooklyn, New York and Miami, Florida, United States

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