Edwidge Danticat comes to the Free Library this week to promote her new book and field the inevitable questions about her Caribbean homeland.
Would you call this a political book?
"I think it's a political book because it talks very openly about some very political things. Is it making a political statement? Perhaps. I would call it a political book, yes. But it's not meant to be a tract."
Do you feel obligated to write about Haiti?
"That's what interests me. Haiti interests me. Haiti really haunts and fascinates me. But it adds another painful layer when the things you're writing have these parallels in life."
Do you think you'll ever write about something not related to Haiti or your past experience there?
"I think it's possible, but I don't see it right now. When I'm done with one book, I always think, 'This is it. I'm done.' Just because I feel drained when I finish. I just feel like I've given it all."
Will current events dictate what you write next?
"For the immediate future, yeah, I think so. Whether it's fiction or nonfiction, it gives me a way to process what's happening."
Edwidge Danticat will read from The Dew Breaker Thurs., March 25, 7pm. Free. Free Library, 1901 Vine St. 215.686.5322. www.library.phila.gov
Editor's note: Sara Kelly (skelly@philadelphia weekly.com) and Edwidge Danticat were classmates in the fiction M.F.A. program at Brown.
When wild pigs and dogs eat a human corpse, they leave the feet. The photo is too gruesome to print here. The torso and head are missing. The pelvic bone, thighs and legs have been licked clean of all skin and muscle, leaving just bones that, without size perspective, could easily be mistaken for well-devoured chicken wings. Except for the left foot, still intact, and the right foot, still wearing a sock. Local immigration lawyer Tom Griffin took the photograph of the dismembered corpse in 2004 on the road leading out of Cit� Soleil, the Haitian neighborhood sometimes called the "Calcutta of the Caribbean." New victims appeared on that road and many others in the Port-au-Prince slum almost every morning. You can't blame anyone for not wanting to go back there. But the very notion of helping someone avoid returning was enough for Canada to want to imprison a local 65-year-old grandmother for the rest of her life....
So far, HPP’s call for aid has attracted a surge of eager donors, volunteers and NBC 10 cameras. However, local activists fear that public complacency will set in once the enthusiasm wears off.
Jimaní became the back door route in and out of Haiti for thousands of people making their exodus, and thousands of others trying to get in. I was one of those trying to get in with a group from Cooper University Hospital in Camden, N.J.
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