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The Dew Breaker

This is the first of two posts about Haitian-American author Edwidge Danticat (see the second one here). This collection of short stories, all linked around the story of a Dew Breaker, which according to Danticatcomes from a Creole phrase which refers to those who break the serenity of the grass in the morning dew. It is a Creole nickname for torturer." The titular dew breaker is introduced to the readers in the first story, as a Haitian émigré who has settled in America and whose daughter, Ka, is now a sculptor. We don't see them again until the ninth and final story of the novel, where it gives the reader his history. The stories are all indirectly related to this Dew Breaker. My favorite story was "Night Talkers" about Dany, a young man who has traveled back to Haiti to visit his aunt. He his there to tell her that he found the man who murdered his parents (his landlord, the Dew Breaker himself). It's interesting to see how the aunt reacts to finally finding the murderer and Dany's struggles with whether the Dew Breaker should be allowed redemption. In other stories, Danticat delves into the troubles of making life in America as a Haitian immigrant, or the problems encountered under François Duvalier's regime. Under "Papa Doc" (François) and his son, "Baby Doc" (Jean-Claude Duvalier) Haiti suffered greatly, thanks to men like the Dew Breaker in the novel. Not until Jean-Claude was overthrown by a popular uprising in 1986 was Haiti free of the dictatorship that they had been under for almost three decades. Danticat's collection of short stories is wondrously written. It is the story of a man's history intertwined with that of his nation's and of many other immigrants. Rating: ★★★★

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All The King's Men