After the Dance: A Walk Through Carnival in Jacmel, Haiti (Crown Journeys) 1st Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 10 ratings
ISBN-13: 978-0609609088
ISBN-10: 9780609609088
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Twenty years after emigrating to America, Danticat (Breath, Eyes, Memory) returns to her native Haiti and the coastal village of Jacmel to take part in her first Carnival. But she's not without reservations. As a child she was forbidden to partake in the festivities by her uncle, a Baptist minister with whom she lived before joining her parents in New York at age 12. "People always hurt themselves during carnival, he said, and it was their fault, for gyrating with so much abandon that they would dislocate their hips and shoulders and lose their voices while singing too loudly." Organized in sections that parallel Danticat's perambulations in the week leading up to the event, the author illuminates the political, economic and cultural history of the island nation, introducing Columbus, French colonists and Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier, the dictator of Danticat's youth. Throughout, readers meet local artists, farmers and activists who call Jacmel home, including Ovid, a farmer whom Danticat meets having lost her way in an abandoned sugar plantation. Madame Ovid, his wife, crafts paper cones to hold the grilled corn flour she will sell during carnival. It's said that the act of writing leads to a deeper understanding of one's subject, and oneself. As the work reveals in its final pages, for no one is this more true than Danticat, who offers an enlightening look at the country and Carnival through the eyes of one of its finest writers.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Danticat (Farming of Bones; The Butterfly's Way: Voices from the Haitian Diaspora in the United States) journeyed back to her native Haiti to explore what had been forbidden in her childhood: the colorful, raucous, dangerous carnival. Arriving a week before the annual event, she sought out some of the island's more unusual residents while exploring the history, folklore, and meaning of the many images of carnival. Her lively narrative describes a rich and complicated cultural history, influenced by Christianity, vodou, Europeans, pirates, dictators, past slavery, and an uncertain economy. From zombies, Arawak Indians, and SIDA (syndrome immuno-deficitaire acquis), representing the ravages of AIDS, to the devilish Mathurins, who battle the dragon-slaying archangel Saint Michel, the many masked and costumed carnival participants parade by Danticat. By the end of the story, she has overcome her childhood fears, dropped her inhibitions, and joined in the enthusiastic revelry that is carnival, embracing strangers and singing. A short but entertaining narrative; for academic and public libraries. [This is the first in a series called "Journeys" that will feature noted authors on favorite destinations; forthcoming works include Michael Cunningham on Provincetown, Laura Esquivel on Mexico, Ishmael Reed on Oakland, and Myla Goldberg on Prague. Ed.] Linda M. Kaufmann, Massachusetts Coll. of Liberal Arts Lib., North Adam.
- Linda M. Kaufmann, Massachusetts Coll. of Liberal Arts Lib., North Adams
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Product details

  • Item Weight : 10.2 ounces
  • Hardcover : 160 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 9780609609088
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0609609088
  • Product Dimensions : 5.18 x 0.73 x 7.91 inches
  • Publisher : Crown; 1st Edition (August 6, 2002)
  • Language: : English
  • ASIN : 0609609084
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 10 ratings

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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