Brother, I’m Dying, by Edwidge Danticat

Edwidge Danticat was four years old when her parents immigrated to America, leaving her in Haiti for eight years in the care of her aunt and uncle Joseph, her “second father.”  This memoir–which weaves the history of Danticat’s family with the political history of Haiti–is a loving tribute to these two “fathers,” and their lives in the troubled times of Haiti that led one to leave and another, until the tragic end of his life, to stay.  And as one reviewer commented on Amazon.com, although her uncle Joseph–a Baptist minister and speaker–lost his voice to cancer and his life in U.S. custody, in writing this book Danticat does her part to give both back.

Robin Miles is the reader for the audiobook version (which won several awards), and beautifully captures the accents, the love, the sadness, and the harrowing nature of the story.  Despite the dramatic nature of the events, and her closeness to the people involved, I found Danticat’s prose here to feel more detached than in some of her fiction.  Hearing the book, the emotions came through loud and clear.

An interview with Edwidge Danticat about her uncle’s detention is here, and a “60 Minutes” interview on the same subject is here.

RATING: **** Very, very good
Reviewed by: stc

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Filed under Audiobooks, Biographies and Memoirs, Non Fiction, Staff Picks

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