12 February 2010
The Dew Breaker
A few weeks ago i read several posts about diversifying your reading, taking in things from people from different countries, of different races. It seemed to start making the blog rounds as people responded to Bloomsbury's whitewashing of the Magic Under Glass cover. Posts on Shelf Love, A Striped Armchair, My Friend Amy, and The Book Lady's Blog made me realize how much i don't pay attention to the race, gender, or ethnicity of the authors i read and characters i read about. I mean, unless you count "British" as a different ethnicity i can only think of 2 books offhand that i read with either a main character of a different race or an author who was. I want to change that. I signed up for the People of Color reading challenge and will read 10-15 POC books this year.
Today i finished The Dew Breaker by Edwidge Danticat. It is sort of a novel, sort of a series of interlaced short stories. I really enjoyed it and give it a 6. The opening chapter is about a young sculptor who, on a trip to sell her first piece, finds out her father was not a prisoner as she thought but a torturer. She begins to question her life; how could her quiet, loving father have murdered people? For the remaining chapters we then jump around in time and see different pieces of different lives, all Haitians and in some way connected to the Dew Breaker. I think my favorite was Night Talkers, about a young man who returns to Haiti to tell his aunt that he may have met the man who murdered his parents but learns more about belonging and family. Another good chapter is Monkey Tails. That one is about a man, telling a story to his unborn son, about being twelve during the revolution in 1986.
The only thing that i didn't like is my own fault. It took me until the third chapter to realize that the characters i read about in the first chapter were not the ones in the second chapter. So i had to go back and reread it, not trying to relate the story back to the starting chapter. does that make sense? The characters have a great depth and there were several passages that brought tears to my eyes. Danticat is a great writer; I've snapped up another of her books at the library already.