The island nation of Haiti is the third largest Caribbean nation with a population of 9.7 million. It is also known as “La Perle des Antilles” (The Pearl of the Antilles) in French, owing to its natural beauty.
Today let us visit two points of interest in Haiti.
The port of Labadee is a private resort and popular cruise ship destination known for its beautiful beaches.
The Citadelle Laferrière is a large mountaintop fortress in northern Haiti, declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
A Tap Tap bus is a common type of public transportation in some parts of Haiti. According to this photography website, “the ‘tap tap’ name comes from sound of taps on the metal bus body signifying a passenger’s request to be dropped off”. They are elaborately decorated as you can see from the photo:
Now that we’ve seen some sights in Haiti, let’s get to the books now, shall we? :)
Children of Heroes by Lyonel Trouillot | Original Title: Les Enfants des héros | Translated by Linda Coverdale | Goodreads Page
Their father’s favorite saying, between drinks and blows, was, “Life holds only bad surprises, and the last one will be death.” And now, Colin observes of the man sprawled under all the broken furniture, their father was definitely and forever out of surprises. Children of Heroes is the story Colin tells of what happened—and what happened before that. Testimony, confession, a child’s outpouring: this is his painfully matter-of-fact account of how he and his older sister, Mariéla, killed the man who tyrannized them and their piously pathetic mother, who is now a “blank.” As he describes their flight from the slum in Haiti to an uncertain somewhere called “far away,” Colin conjures a bleak picture of the life he and his sister are trying to leave behind. And whether these two—children only in age—are guilty or merely victims of the violence festering in their city is a question only the reader can answer. In its picture of a world in which the heroes and the destroyers—whether fathers or leaders—are often indistinguishable, and where life’s poetry and poverty are inextricably linked, this book tells a story of Haiti that is at once intimate, universal, and otherworldly. (Amazon)
In Darkness by Nick Lake | Goodreads Page | Book Trailer
In darkness I count my blessings like Manman taught me. One: I am alive. Two: there is no two. In the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake a boy is trapped beneath the rubble of a ruined hospital: thirsty, terrified and alone. ‘Shorty’ is a child of the slums, a teenage boy who has seen enough violence to last a lifetime, and who has been inexorably drawn into the world of the gangsters who rule Site Soleil: men who dole out money with one hand and death with the other. But Shorty has a secret: a flame of revenge that blazes inside him and a burning wish to find the twin sister he lost five years ago. And he is marked. Marked in a way that links him with Toussaint L’Ouverture, the Haitian rebel who two-hundred years ago led the slave revolt and faced down Napoleon to force the French out of Haiti. As he grows weaker, Shorty relives the journey that took him to the hospital, a bullet wound in his arm. In his visions and memories he hopes to find the strength to survive, and perhaps then Toussaint can find a way to be free … (Amazon)
Because We Are: A Novel of Haiti by Ted Oswald | Goodreads Page – This is a nonprofit novel to benefit Haiti. Please check out the author’s website for more information.
When a mother and her infant are murdered on the outskirts of Cité Soleil, Haiti’s most infamous slum, two unexpected detectives emerge: Libète, a brash and headstrong girl of ten, and her brilliant but impoverished friend Jak.
Though made rough-and-tumble on the slum’s streets where gangs, police and U.N. peacekeepers have long battled for control, the murders stir Libète unlike anything she’s seen before. With the dead quickly forgotten as the community limps on in its grinding struggle to survive, Libète resolves to pursue the truth despite the costs, plunging headfirst into an insidious plot that will threaten her and everything she holds dear.
A profound journey set against the calamitous backdrop of modern-day Haiti, join Libète as she struggles to find herself and justice in an unjust world in Because We Are: A Novel of Haiti. (From author’s website)
Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat | Goodreads
From the best-selling author of Brother, I’m Dying and The Dew Breaker: a stunning new work of fiction that brings us deep into the intertwined lives of a small seaside town where a little girl, the daughter of a fisherman, has gone missing.
Claire Limyè Lanmè—Claire of the Sea Light—is an enchanting child born into love and tragedy in Ville Rose, Haiti. Claire’s mother died in childbirth, and on each of her birthdays Claire is taken by her father, Nozias, to visit her mother’s grave. Nozias wonders if he should give away his young daughter to a local shopkeeper, who lost a child of her own, so that Claire can have a better life.
But on the night of Claire’s seventh birthday, when at last he makes the wrenching decision to do so, she disappears. As Nozias and others look for her, painful secrets, haunting memories, and startling truths are unearthed among the community of men and women whose individual stories connect to Claire, to her parents, and to the town itself. Told with piercing lyricism and the economy of a fable, Claire of the Sea Light is a tightly woven, breathtaking tapestry that explores what it means to be a parent, child, neighbor, lover, and friend, while revealing the mysterious bonds we share with the natural world and with one another. Embracing the magic and heartbreak of ordinary life, it is Edwidge Danticat’s most spellbinding, astonishing book yet. (Amazon)
Land Of Mountains by Jinx Schwartz | Goodreads
A ten-year-old’s new home on an exotic Caribbean island proves so fascinating she quickly forgets she didn’t want to leave Texas. After all, where better than a jungle world teeming with voodoo, mystery, and a really pesky zombie, to indulge her favorite pastime: snooping. In this humorous mystery, award-winning author Jinx Schwartz transports the reader to another time and place where rivers, and little girls, ran wild and free. (Amazon)
I hope these new book discoveries have made their way into your to-be-read lists. Thank you for traveling with the Five-eyed Bookworm to Haiti. If you want to know more about this feature, please click here. Don’t forget to check out the first installment of this feature where we traveled to Australia. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome :)
February 26, 2014 at 10:24 pm
Thank you so much for sharing! I have been looking for books about or on Haiti for awhile. Another great one is “Mountains Beyond Mountains” by Tracey Kidder. Thanks again, much appreciated!
February 27, 2014 at 3:58 am
You’re very welcome! I’m glad to have shared books set in Haiti. I hope you get to read them soon. :) I’m going to read Claire of the Sea Light this March so hopefully I can also share a review. I’ll check out the book by Tracey Kidder. Thank you so much! :)
February 27, 2014 at 1:53 am
I like Edwidge Danticat a lot. (The only one of these authors I’ve read.) I particularly liked her book The Farming of Bones.
February 27, 2014 at 4:07 am
That’s great! I have not read any book from her but I’ve heard about The Farming of Bones. I hope to read her book Claire of the Sea Light this March.
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