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In Darkness Hardcover – January 17, 2012
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“A vivid and unforgettable voice ... incredibly moving.” ―The Times
“Unputdownable” ―Daily Mail
“Gripping ... beautifully subtle.” ―New York Times
“Both violent and subtle, unexpectedly reminding me of The Wire. Characters, settings, and the half-believed Haitian vodou religion are handled with patience and complexity ... A serious, nuanced, challenging novel. Trust me, there are plenty of young readers who hunger for exactly that.” ―Patrick Ness, Guardian
“Remarkable ... Lake's elegant, restrained prose and distinct characters will reward adults and older teenagers able to brave a story with strong language, harrowing scenes of brutality and an almost painful stab of joy at the end.” ―Wall Street Journal
More About the Author
I like all the things you like, and I hate all the things you hate. I swear.
I live in a picture-postcard village in Oxfordshire, protected by trip-wires, boobytraps and a fat, lazy tomcat. Life in a picture-postcard village is very nice, but it's a bit two-dimensional.
Top Customer Reviews
This plot would be enough to hook me, but author Nick Lake makes In Darkness more compelling by alternating Shorty's story with a third person account of Toussaint L'Ouverture, the Haitian slave who led a successful revolution against the French in the late 18th century. It is a powerful juxtaposition to pair Toussaint's hope and love for his beautiful nation and Shorty's despair in the slums of Port au Prince. Touissant's life is fascinating; as an older, unattractive, and uneducated slave, he is not the typical hero. Yet he accomplishes the seemingly impossible with wisdom and grace.
As much as I enjoyed learning more about Toussaint L'Ouverture, I found myself looking forward to Shorty's chapters. His plot feels so immediate and vital. The transformation of the character of Shorty is very clever. Initially, he comes across as an innocent victim of the earthquake, then his story slowly unfolds and the reader learns about the terrible things he has done. Just when he borders on unsympathetic, Lake deftly reminds the reader that there are few options available to youths in the slums and that Shorty manages to keep his humanity. Shorty describes his best friend, saying, "Sometimes I'd look at him and it was like he'd forgotten to put the shutters over his eyes, and I'd see right down to his soul, and see how much he was hurting. He was unprotected, is the best way I can say it. His manman died when he was little, and there was nothing about him that could keep bad stuff out.Read more ›
When you realize that dying big-headed babies discarded in trash cans are almost as natural as the sun rising in the morning... and the fact that people really do eat *MUD-PIES-MADE-OF-MUD*... then a potential reader can begin to comprehend that something as devastating as an almost totally destructive earthquake... needn't be the scariest or most depressing part of this book.
The part of Haiti described in this book has frequently been named *THE MOST DANGEROUS PLACE ON EARTH!* The modern day depictions show a society that is completely dominated by "Rap" culture characters and the "murder is cool" way of life. Drugs are everywhere and a means to an end. Voodoo is omnipresent and boundaries are like mapped off war zones. Through it all...Read more ›
I wasn't sure if I could get through this book without shedding a few tears. We all have seen the aftermath of an earthquake while watching the news, but you can never truly experience the true effect of it unless you lived through it.
Nick Lake does an extraordinary job of capturing moments of Shorty's life trapped in the rubble. In the beginning of the book, I felt myself grasping for air as though I was trapped with Shorty. While he was trapped in the ruins, he finds himself dreaming of Toussaint L'Ouverture, a former slave who led the revolution of Haiti. I didn't particularly care for the back and forth between Shorty & Toussaint life, but once I realized the connection between the two characters, it became an easier read. In Darkness is a powerful read. I would definitely recommend this book.
The novel opens in January 2010, where a boy known as Shorty lies trapped in darkness, buried alive in the rubble of a collapsed hospital, surrounded by the rapidly decaying bodies of the dead. Shorty isn't sure what happened to plunge him into this hell, but he's not surprised to find himself in such a dangerous position. His entire life, in fact, has been a struggle for survival, this new challenge just a little more dire than most.
While Shorty struggles to keep his body alive, he also grasps at stories of his past to keep himself from going mad. He recalls the near-mystical circumstances of his birth, the tragedies that ripped his family apart, the series of events that led him to join a gang and become a foot soldier in the ongoing war that defined life in Haiti's slums.
He also --- without realizing it or understanding why --- dreams up stories of Toussaint L'Ouverture, the former slave who led the revolution for Haiti's people's freedom from their white oppressors. Shorty never learned all these details about Toussaint in school.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great shipping but horrible dark book that leaves images and nightmares!!Published 5 months ago by Bernadette
In Darkness isn’t an easy read. How could it be when it takes on the brutal past of a country born of the first slave revolution and the traumatic contemporary history of one of... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Vamos a Leer
The book was well written. The story intriguing and fascinating historically. I just didn't enjoy the story line.Published 8 months ago by Elaine Keiser
A well written look into the culture and history of Haiti through the eyes of the main character in his current and previous lives.Published 8 months ago by mcz
Excellent, powerful audio-book, narrated by the author. I really learned a lot about Haiti's history, in a fascinating way.Published 9 months ago by Elizabeth L. Vitale
This book wasnt really down my genre but i am sure others will like it more than I didPublished 10 months ago by brandt