National Book Critics Circle Award, Autobiography, 2008
Award-winning, best-selling author Edwidge Danticat taps her exceptional storytelling gifts for this memoir of the two men who raised her. When the author was only four years old, her parents emigrated from Haiti to New York in search of a better life, leaving their daughter in the care of her uncle Joseph. A peaceful pastor in Port-au-Prince, Joseph raised Edwidge with the love and devotion of a father, despite facing many hardships in politically turbulent Haiti.
©2007 Edwidge Danticat; (P)2007 Recorded Books LLC
"Poignant and never sentimental, this elegant memoir recalls how a family adapted and reorganized itself over and over, enduring and succeeding to remain kindred in spite of living apart." (Publishers Weekly)
This author tells a universal story from a Haitian-American point of view - love in the context of life and death. The books reads as if she is telling the story in your living space. Yet, her account of aspects the Haitian-American experience renders thought provoking exchange on what does it mean to be a hyphenated American.
I have read all of Danticat's works with great satisfaction. This tops the list to date!
The wonderful writer, Edwina Dandicat, recounts her life and the life of her family, particularly the Haitian uncle with whom she spent her early childhood. I listened to this just as the recent earthquake and its devastation was being broadcast on all the media and it gave me a human context to the recent history, the land, and its people. However, beyond that, it is a powerful memoir of a family, their love, their courage, and the ties that bind. I enjoyed the reading very much. It enhanced the story.
No words can express the power of this story, especially for people from the West Indies
"Brother, I'm Dying" ranks #1 among all audiobooks I have ever listened to. This book was written to be heard aloud. The language, the back-and-forth of dialects and acccents, is integral to the story, as are other things such as the expressions of emotions. I even needed to hear the punctuation, the pause of a comma, the inflection of a question mark. A whole-hearted, thorough self-read would not have explained the story that Edwidge Danticat wanted to tell. The narration was incredible - I have not heard better. The writing? I often would rewind 30 sec just to hear how a passage was worded. The story itself? As the author states, it needed to be told. It took my breath away. I gave up guessing what would come next. It was completely outside of my life's experience or anyone I know or have even heard of. I want everyone, especially Americans, to hear this story. Our current political and moral debates about immigration? Read this one. Our generalizations and simplifications about Haiti's poverty, religious practicies and superstitions? Read this one. Family love, connections, and sacrifices? Read this one. Behind-the-scenes U.S. involvement and intervention in Hatian politics and power? READ THIS ONE.Thank you, Edwidge Danticat, for telling me your family's story. I am forever changed.
When the family met to make discuss how to handle affairs after the father's death, one son asked the father, "Have you enjoyed your life, Father?"
Absolutely not. There was so much to digest, I could only absorb this story in portions.
My expectation is that a good story, well-written, and as an audiobook well-spoken, will always change me in some way. This book profoundly changed me. This is a remarkable story and a remarkable audiobook.
What a stunning memoir! I was pleasantly surprised that the book was as much about life as death. Danticat's excellent telling of her story and describing her family members is impressive. The ending is shocking and infuriating. I commend Danticat for writing this part well, without excessive invectives.
I loved the fantastic narration by Robin Miles. I am now a devoted Robin Miles fan.
As a companion book, one set in Haiti, I recommend Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder.
Retired to mountains of California. Sell on eBay as Prsilla. No TV. Volunteer in wildlife rehab. Knit, sew or embroider while listening.
This is a wonderful book for someone who wants to learn about other kinds of people, other life challenges. Americans who live in a city may ride the bus beside someone dressed oddly and of a different race. I have tuned in on people this way in San Francisco. But to get such an exquisitely written story of extended family love and cooperation -- as well as history lessons and the shameful story of how the U.S.A. exploited and trashed these wonderful people -- you have to read a book like this. The only Haitian I knew before I listened to this book was a slim and elegant hotel worker who long ago sold my husband drugs. . . . This morning I googled the author's name and finally saw pictures of her sweet face. And she's had another daughter and written more books! . . . The book tells a true story. People lived through this! Horrendous events take place! And yet, the book is not a downer. There is so much love in the family members and their network of associates both in the U.S. and back in Port au Prince. . . . The United States, especially the Immigration people, have much to answer for. Being black is not a crime! Being black and speaking with a U.K. or French accent is also not a crime! Being a foreigner is not a crime! I noticed how many Spanish surnamed people dealt with Edwidge's precious elderly uncle in his last days in custody. For shame! At one point one character says, "It is what it is." And that is more or less how the book ends. Hopefully. Gathering resources to try to live another day. Edwidge has managed to entertain and inform people with her beautiful and sad story. Thank you, lady!
This book ranks very high in my reading of the last few years. It truly grabbed me. Ever since the earthquake in Haiti, I've been attempting to learn about the Haitian people and their culture. This book surprised me in its depth. I loved it.
Learning about the death of the uncle, foster father.
The time of the baby's birth in Miami.
All of it.
First of all, the reading was stunningly beautiful. The storytelling was gripping as well, but I should note that the first half and the second half of the book have a very different feel. Not that either was bad, but it was a bit jarring, probably intentionally so.
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