- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Knopf; aFirst Edition First Printing edition (2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0739493663
- ISBN-13: 978-0739493663
- Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,240,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Brother, I'M Dying Paperback – 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed reading about a different culture. It was easy to read and I did not want to put it down. I was especially impressed by the life and faith of the uncle.Published 17 days ago by Amazon Customer
simply love Danticat's storytelling ability: poignant, clear, passionatePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Read it as it is Fort Collins "read book" for 2016. Look forward to hearing her speak in Nov. here in Fort Collins.Published 2 months ago by Rosemarie Chamberlain
What an incredible story. It's so hard to believe that it actually happened, but I did my research and confirmed it as a true story. Highly recommend.Published 2 months ago by Kindle Customer
I know that I am in the minority on this, but I'm finding it extremely difficult to stay engaged with this book.Published 3 months ago by Dodie1948
One of my favorite short story collections . . . Like Olive Kittredge, the stories are loosely connected but certainly stand on their own. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Laura Pritchett