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Brother, I'm Dying (Vintage Contemporaries) [Kindle Edition]

Edwidge Danticat
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $5.01 (33%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

From the age of four, award-winning writer Edwidge Danticat came to think of her uncle Joseph as her “second father,” when she was placed in his care after her parents left Haiti for America. And so she was both elated and saddened when, at twelve, she joined her parents and youngest brothers in New York City. As Edwidge made a life in a new country, adjusting to being far away from so many who she loved, she and her family continued to fear for the safety of those still in Haiti as the political situation deteriorated.

 

In 2004, they entered into a terrifying tale of good people caught up in events beyond their control. Brother I'm Dying is an astonishing true-life epic, told on an intimate scale by one of our finest writers.

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Edwidge Danticat's Claire of the Sea Light. 



Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In a single day in 2004, Danticat (Breath, Eyes, Memory; The Farming of Bones) learns that she's pregnant and that her father, André, is dying—a stirring constellation of events that frames this Haitian immigrant family's story, rife with premature departures and painful silences. When Danticat was two, André left Haiti for the U.S., and her mother followed when Danticat was four. The author and her brother could not join their parents for eight years, during which André's brother Joseph raised them. When Danticat was nine, Joseph—a pastor and gifted orator—lost his voice to throat cancer, making their eventual separation that much harder, as he wouldn't be able to talk with the children on the phone. Both André and Joseph maintained a certain emotional distance through these transitions. Danticat writes of a Haitian adage,  'When you bathe other people's children, you should wash one side and leave the other side dirty.' I suppose this saying cautions those who care for other people's children not to give over their whole hearts. In the end, as Danticat prepares to lose her ailing father and give birth to her daughter, Joseph is threatened by a volatile sociopolitical clash and forced to flee Haiti. He's then detained by U.S. Customs and neglected for days. He unexpectedly dies a prisoner while loved ones await news of his release. 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. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Edwidge Danticat's father and uncle chose very different paths: the former struggled to make a new life for himself in America, while the latter remained in the homeland he paradoxically loved. In following their lives and their impact on future generations, Danticat's powerful family memoir explores how the private and the political, the past and the present, intersect. The most poignant section focuses on Joseph's tragic trip to the United States at age 81, but Danticat also tells a wider story about family and exile, the Haitian diaspora, the Duvalier regime, and post-9/11 immigration policy. Emotionally resonant and exceptionally clear-eyed, Brother, I'm Dying offers insight into a talented writer, her family history, and the injustices of the modern world.

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.


Product Details

  • File Size: 339 KB
  • Print Length: 290 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1400034302
  • Publisher: Vintage (September 4, 2007)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000VMBX7G
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #168,689 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
67 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Of Love, migration and injustice September 16, 2007
Format:Hardcover
Edwidge tells the story of a modern Haitian family, her family, with great love and courage. In addition to Edwidge's family's personal events, the year 2004 was a year of great sadness and emotion for Haiti and Haitians. It was a year that was to be the celebration of the country's 200th. birthday. Haitians were full of anger at the political situation and sadness at their inability to celebrate one of the major reasons for Haitian pride, our great history. There were also terrible natural disasters, floods that killed more people than 9/11 did. It was a sad year and Edwidge was having her first baby.
While it is often said that Haitians in the US are not political refugees but economic refugees, this book shows us that family life is tied to political life. And in the face of the political and economic situation, some make the choice to emigrate at any cost as Edwidge's biological father did, and some make the choice of serving their community in Haiti as Edwidge's surrogate father and uncle did. Each man expresses love for the family in his own way either as a provider of financial support or a provider of every day love. Uncle Joseph stayed in Haiti as long as he could. When the day came that his own home was destroyed and his life was directly threatened, he decided to go to the US with no return date. That's how he encountered his death: a family man alone in a foreign hospital, shackled, voiceless, and abandoned, because he made the mistake of asking for political asylum.
For most Americans this story will be an introduction to a type of life common to many Haitians, a life of dedication to family and of cultural transitions. Edwidge's family is a hybrid of true Haitians and true Americans. As Americans they believed in respect for national institutions.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Like Bill Maher says, if you're not embarrassed being an American these days, then you must be dead. Edwidge Danticat's memoir BROTHER, I'M DYING, this year's National Book Award finalist, never points a "shame on you" finger at anyone. But once you've digested the dramatic, poignant and unsentimental experiences of her beautiful book, you will be ashamed and disgusted by America's kneejerk reactions to the many people who flock to this nation thinking it is still the land of opportunity.

Edwidge's parents left her native Haiti when she was four years old, for the America of old where they might escape the oppressive strictures of the Duvalier government and make their way in a world of freedom and opportunity. Her parents left her and her brother in the care of her uncle Joseph, a man who profoundly affected the person she grew up to be. She calls him the man who "knew all the verses for love." (Who wouldn't want such an epitaph?) Until she was 12, he and his family guided her as one of their own. As an enthusiastic pastor, he made moral lessons sing for her and was able to encourage her interests in nursing as well as writing. At the age of 12, however, her parents called her to New York, where she was reunited with her younger siblings and the father she had barely known before.

Leaving behind Joseph and her colorful extended family was exceedingly difficult and emotional for her. In fact, once she left, Joseph was stricken with an illness that kept him from speaking --- so Edwidge and her brother who had lived with him could not even talk to him by phone. She concentrated instead on her studies while fearing more and more each day the deteriorating political system in her homeland.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Beautiful September 23, 2007
Format:Hardcover
So far, this is my favorite book by Danticat (I've read them all). It drew me in completely. And although I knew from the title that at least one life would be lost by the close of the book, I was unable to stop reading.I kept thinking that her father and uncle, not to mention the rest of her family must be very proud of her for writing such a beautiful eulogy. I also believe that the Haitian people who live with this suffering are also glad. Good work, Edwidge.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Book, Yes, But Also an Important Book August 17, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Edwidge Danticat is possibly the best American fiction writer of the younger generation. Her novels and story collections have cut a broad swath through the history of 20th century Haiti and the Haitian diaspora. Their virtues include lyric and narrative pleasures, a plainspoken and elegant voice, intelligence and intelligibility, and the bridging of two cultures separated by language and mutual misunderstanding.

With Brother, I'm Dying, Danticat expands upon the gift for nonfiction she first demonstrated in her book about carnival in Jacmel. This time, she tackles memoir by way of family history, a private story that stands in for hundreds of thousands of other private stories and has deep public policy implications. Through the Dantica and Danticat families, we get an up-close-and-personal look at the terrors of Haitian history from Papa Doc to the present, alongside the beauties of place and people too often underexplored in newspaper accounts of Haiti.

The book's velocity increases toward the end, when Danticat's uncle is run out of Port-au-Prince by street gangs, only to encounter the surprisingly deadlier American immigration system. This part of the story is the most deeply felt section of a deeply felt book, and the reader wants to scream with outrage and the indignities Danticat's uncle suffers, and especially at the unwillingness of the immigration authorities to respond humanely to his illness, his difficulties in communicating, or his family's quite reasonable requests that he receive proper medical and legal attention.

I find myself grieving now, after finishing this book, and I want to know what I can do to make my country more compassionate.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
very emotional book that shows life in Haiti and the struggles of Haitians coming to the U.S.. the question of life and death is continuing in the book. I recommend it
Published 3 days ago by marie coronado
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent book
Excellent bookby Danticat! One of the better stories I have read about a diverse main character
Published 1 month ago by GeorgeAnambra
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great delivery time, no problems, great book.
Published 1 month ago by Kelcie Davis
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Writer
I enjoy her books and have read several.
Published 1 month ago by C. MCD.
5.0 out of 5 stars Edwidge is the best there is
Edwidge is the best there is. The story of her father's death is horrific, but hardly surprising that the US treated him so unjustly after he barely escaped death in Haiti.
Published 4 months ago by Anne
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
This is such an amazing book, reminds me of my youth in Haiti at that time. Good to read someone else's experience.
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Really interesting read
Insightful book about a topic I knew nothing about. I recommend it for anyone who wants an easy, interesting read.
Published 6 months ago by Eric Chen
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Story!
This was a great book, I loved it! It was sad, but it opened my eyes to the kinds of struggles that people from other countries have when trying to live a better life in America,... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Teresa
5.0 out of 5 stars this book will blow your mind away
This book is both fascinating and enlightening. I could not put it down. I read the whole book in three days. Very good story.
Published 10 months ago by marie damy
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
Danticat is an amazing author. She is just superb! The words, the writing you feel like you know her. You love her at her best, at her worst and the present. Read more
Published 14 months ago by TLaird
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More About the Author

Edwidge Danticat was born in Haiti in 1969 and came to the United States when she was twelve years old. She graduated from Barnard College and received an M.F.A. from Brown University. She made an auspicious debut with her first novel, Breath, Eyes, Memory, and followed it with the story collection Krik? Krak!, whose National Book Award nomination made Danticat the youngest nominee ever. She lives in New York.

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