Monday, 21 November 2011

The Return

Finished November 21
The Return by Dany Laferri ère, translated by David Homel
This is a fascinating novel/memoir told mostly in poems. Laferrière came to Montreal from Haiti as a refugee fleeing the regime of Baby Doc. His father before him fled to New York from Papa Doc when Dany was only 4. When his father Winston dies, Dany struggles with how that makes him feel, telling the story of his emotions, his trip to New York and his father's funeral, and his subsequent return to Haiti. In Haiti, he feels both like a native and like a foreigner, and he reconnects with family and friends, explores the Haiti of his past and the Haiti of now. He finds himself finding a new relationship with his country of birth as he brings his father's spirit back home.
This book was extremely engaging and once I started it, I found it difficult to put down. Using poetry to tell the story makes it magical and brings the emotions to the fore. It allows the exploration of different aspects of the story that a straightforward memoir wouldn't allow. This book is a gem.

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