We meet him late in his life. He is a quiet man, a husband and father, a hardworking barber, a kindly landlord to the men who live in a basement apartment in his home. He is a fixture in his Brooklyn neighborhood, recognizable by the terrifying scar on his face. As the book unfolds, moving seamlessly between Haiti in the 1960s and New York City today, we enter the lives of those around him: his devoted wife and rebellious daughter; his sometimes unsuspecting, sometimes apprehensive neighbors, tenants, and clients. And we meet some of his victims.
In the book's powerful denouement, we return to the Haiti of the dew breaker's past, to his last, desperate act of violence, and to his first encounter with the woman who will offer him a form of redemption, albeit imperfect, that will change him forever. The Dew Breaker is a book of interconnected lives, a book of love, remorse, and hope; of rebellions both personal and political; of the compromises we often make in order to move beyond the most intimate brushes with history. Unforgettable, deeply resonant, The Dew Breaker proves once more that in Edwidge Danticat we have a major American writer.
©2004 Edwidge Danticat; (P)2004 Recorded Books
"Courageous. . . . Beautiful. . . . The Dew Breaker is brilliant book, undoubtedly the best one yet by an enormously talented writer." (The Washington Post Book World)
"Danticat's gift is to combine both sympathy and clarity in a moral tangle that becomes as tight as a Haitian community." (Time)
"A devastating story of love, delusion, and history." (O, The Oprah Magazine)
Edwidge Danticat has taken several disparate elements--stories from various times and set in various places--and baked a delicious cake with them. Each chapter is a short story in itself, but they are all brought together by the person of the "dew breaker:" a man whose job it was to come in the early morning hours to drag people away for torture and killing under the Duvalier regimes in Haiti. Not knowing until the end how each story relates to the others adds to the tension of this well-written story.
The icing on the cake, though, is the reading, which incorporates Creole, French, American-Creole and American inner-city Ebonics (sometimes more than one of these are heard in the same conversation) to deliver a far better reading than I could have supplied for myself.
Can there be any better pasttime than reading? Audiobook, regular book, e-book - I have 1 of each going at all times.
This book was a great character study, but it didn't go far enough. We meet many characters once, hear part of their story, but never learn why they're important to the story, other than that they once knew the barber. Lots of pieces are left hanging. The book summary suggests that the Dew Breaker turned his life around because of the woman he meets ... I would say he was actually motivated by fear of capture and death at the hands of his former colleagues, when he bungled a job. It felt like the book ended, when it was really only halfway through the potential story. Too bad.
I just couldn't get into this book. I found it confusing - switching to completely different characters in every chapter, half the time I didn't know who they were talking about or how they fit into the whole scheme of things. It had potential as a book, but it never made me care because of the rapid shifting. Sometimes an audible book just grabs you - with this one, I kept having to force myself to concentrate harder and harder to figure out what was going on and the author's story line just wasn't worth the concentration, imho.
I had a hard time with this one. I think there was a great story in there, but I am not sure. I was pretty confused, unsure who was who and how they related to each other. Maybe if I listened again things would snap into place and I might add a star or even two. But from just one listen I was kind of frustrated.
Immigration lawyer in Kansas City. I like Character driven dramas, fantasy (monsters, magic and witches oh my!) and coming of age stories. Favs include: The Book Thief, The Game of Throne series, Harry Potter Series, Dresden Files, Nightside series, anything by Neil Gaimen, 100 Years of Solitude.
Interesting story, excellent narrator, the story was a little hard to follow at times, but comes together nicely at the end.
Disappointing. The description of this book made me think it was a novel, but there are too many individual characters for the stories to inter-relate and hang together well. It just feels like a collection of short stories, which is too bad, because the premise is interesting. Fewer characters of more depth, and better written interwoven story lines would make this so much better. But if the author was a better writer/editor, then the author would be a better writer/editor.
I found the story fascinating and the narration enchanting, a fabulous break away from everyday. I liked the short-story segmentation for listening in segments over a several week period. I got a little lost when there were long gaps between listens, but this experience got me hooked on audiobooks.
Maybe it was the narration, but I found this book difficult to follow. The transition from one time frame to the next was not clear or maybe not defined. I often could not tell which era they were talking about. A meandering plot is often more interesting, but in this case, just confusing.
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