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The Dew Breaker Paperback – March 8, 2005
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“Ms. Danticat’s most persuasive, organic performance yet. . . . Each tale in The Dew Breaker could stand on its own as a beautifully made story, but they come together like jigsaw-puzzle pieces to create a picture of this man's terrible history and his and his victims' afterlife.” —The New York Times
“Filled with quiet intensity and elegant, thought-provoking prose. . . . An elegiac and powerful novel with a fresh presentation of evil and the healing potential of forgiveness.” --People
“Luminous. . . . This is a tale of crime and punishment in the great tradition of Dostoevsky.” —The Baltimore Sun
“A devastating story of love, delusion, and history.” —O, The Oprah Magazine
“Danticat’s gift is to combine both sympathy and clarity in a moral tangle that becomes as tight as a Haitian community.” —Time
“Breathtaking . . . With terrifying wit and flowered pungency, Edwidge Danticat has managed over the past 10 years to portray the torment of the Haitian people . . . In The Dew Breaker, Danticat has written a Haitian truth: prisoners all, even the jailers.” –The New York Times Book Review
“Danticat [is] surely one of contemporary fiction’s most sensitive conveyors of hope’s bittersweet persistence in the midst of poverty and violence.” –The Miami Herald
“Thrillingly topical . . . [The Dew Breaker] shines. . . . Danticat leads her readers into the underworld. It’s furnished like home.” –Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Stunning . . . Beautifully written fiction [that] seamlessly blend[s] the personal and political, [and] asks questions about shame and guilt, forgiveness and redemption, and the legacy of violence . . . haunting.” –USA Today
“Fascinating. . . . Danticat is a fine and serious fiction writer who has slowly grown as an artist with each book she has written.” –The Chicago Tribune
“In its varied characters, its descriptive power and its tightly linked images and themes, [The Dew Breaker] is a rewarding and affecting read, rich with insights not just about Haiti but also about the human condition.” –San Francisco Chronicle
“[The Dew Breaker] is, most profoundly, about love’s healing powers. From its marvelous descriptions of place to the gentle opening up of characters, this is a book that engages the imagination.” –Elle
“With her grace and her imperishable humanity . . . [Danticat] makes sadness beautiful.” –The New York Observer
“Danticat has an emotional imagination capable of evoking empathy for both predator and prey.” –Entertainment Weekly
“With characteristic lyricism and grace, Danticat probes the painful legacy of a time when sons turned against their fathers, children were orphaned, and communities were torn apart.” –The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Delicate and poetic . . . Danticat [is] more than a storyteller, she’s a writer. . . . Her voice is like an X-Acto knife–precise, sharp and perfect for carving out small details.” –The Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Filled with quiet intensity and elegant, thought-provoking prose . . . An elegiac and powerful novel with a fresh presentation of evil and the healing potential of forgiveness.” –People
“[Danticat] fuses the beauty and tragedy of her native land, a land her characters want to forget and remember all at once.” –Ebony
“In these stories Edwidge Danticat continues to speak eloquently for those who in losing their sorrowful homeland have lost their voices.” –The Boston Globe
“Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat presents simple truths…this, the novelist seems to be saying is how you understand; here is the primer for survival.” –The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
From the Back Cover
- Publisher : Vintage; Reprint edition (March 8, 2005)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 256 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1400034299
- ISBN-13 : 978-1400034291
- Item Weight : 8 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.18 x 0.56 x 7.97 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #60,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I liked how all the stories interlaced, that was really cool. Everything else was pretty eh. I probably won't read it again, but I don't 100% regret having had to read it.
As the novel opens, revealing shocking secrets of the past, it's clear that the reader will not be disappointed.
The Dew Breaker's title comes from a Creole phrase referring to `Tontons Macoutes' (Haitian volunteer torturers) during the regime of the Duvaliers in Haiti. They would often come in the early dawn to take their victims away...thus the broke the serenity of the grass in the morning dew. These `Macoutes' tortured and killed thousands of civilians, many for trivial incidences.
Beautifully written, the chapters overlap and wind back around each other as the novel slowly reveals the ghosts of the past within the culture's stories of miracles and spiritual beliefs.
Now, living in New York, trying to erase a past that shadows him continually, we meet a good father and husband with a horrible scar on his face and an agonizing secret embedded deeply in his soul...and now...finally it must be unmasked!
It's a heavy topic, and much of the book is melancholy and even gloomy--but Danticat is expert at throwing in both comic relief and the perfectly placed awkward moment. All nine stories are superb, but even so there are four the truly stand out. The opening story, "The Book of the Dead," describes a semi-vacation trip to Florida taken by the now-elderly man and his daughter, Ka, who has sold a sculpture based her father's image to a famous Haitian American actress. When the father (with the artwork) disappears, secrets are revealed, Ka's adoration of her father is tested, and the obligatory meeting with the actress is both uncomfortable and unforgettable. In "Seven," an immigrant living with two bachelors in a basement apartment gets ready to receive the wife he hasn't seen in seven years. (One of his initial concerns: his apartment-mates need to stop sitting around in their underwear.)
My favorite section, "The Bridal Seamstress," features Aline, a young, idealistic journalism intern who interviews a woman who is about to retire from a career making bridal dresses for other Haitian immigrants ("they come here carrying photographs of tall, skinny girls in dresses that cost thousands of dollars. . . . It's part of my job to tell them, without making them cry, that they're too short, too wide, or too pregnant . . ."). The story turns darker when the older woman describes the new neighbor who, she claims, is the man who tortured her in Haiti. And, the longest and final story, "The Dew Breaker," takes us back to 1967, when the man who will be the cause of so many future nightmares conducts his last murderous assignment in Haiti, and then takes us forward to 2004, with the story of the woman who saved, forgave, and (if such a thing is possible) redeemed him.
Top reviews from other countries
It's a fascinating and compelling narrative about an aspect of history that is not talked about enough.
I loved the format of interconnecting short stories that don't tell the reader everything and allow us to build our own connections and get surprised as we read on.