Thursday, July 24, 2008

Laura's Review - Brother, I'm Dying

Brother, I'm Dying
Edwidge Danticat
270 pages

In Brother, I'm Dying Edwidge Danticat has written a book that is both a personal memoir and an homage to the two most significant male figures of her childhood: her father and uncle. Danticat was born in Haiti and raised primarily by her aunt and uncle after her parents left to start a new life in New York. At the age of twelve she and her brother were reuinted with their parents, and with two more brothers born in New York. Her memoir highlights the emotional impact of such an unusual childhood, but this is not a negative tell-all story. Rather, Danticat focuses more on Haiti's tumultuous political climate, its effect on her uncle and other relatives, her parents' struggle as immigrants, and the relationship between her father and uncle, which only develops when they are well into adulthood.

In 2004, just as Danticat was anticipating her first child, she also faced the responsibility of caring for aging parents. Her father had a life-threatening condition and was declining rapidly. Her uncle was still in reasonably good health, but was forced to leave Haiti during riots that same year. On arrival in the U.S., he became the victim of distressing acts of bigotry and prejudice, was held in a detention center, and died within days. Danticat matter-of-factly described the series of events that led to his death, in a way that made me feel simultaneously outraged and heart-broken.

Danticat is a talented writer; I enjoyed her novel Breath, Eyes, Memory (read my review), and look forward to reading more of her work. ( )
My original review can be found here.

1 comment:

N.Vasillis said...

Thanks for the review, Laura, I'm going to have to read it. I read Breath, Eyes, Memory and loved it.