Some people really feel as if Haitians are really that much different from the rest of the Caribbean communities. The only difference between Haitians and the other islands is that they rebelled first and proudly bared the culture many other islands hid away in their backyard sheds. You can't tell me that santeria, voodoo, and obeah don't overlap.
I didn't learn about Dany Laferrière in school, no matter how much Quebec tries to claim him as their own, as I probably should have considering how popular he is here in Montreal. When I began recognizing his name, I picked up The Return, How To Make Love To A Negro , and L'odeur du cafe, only available to me in French at the moment. I would have never guessed that I would connect so quickly not only with a novel but also with an author.
The Return opens with Laferrière receiving a phone call notifying him of his father's death. In Montreal, hours away from Haiti, Laferrière makes the journey back to Haiti and it is a slow and painful one. I myself recently returned to Barbados in late February from the funeral of a cousin; it'd been almost ten years since I'd been home. Laferrière's The Return is a solemn acknowledgement to the Caribbean diasporas (in particular), groups of people leaving warmth and vibrant communities for colder northern cities to be boxed into cramped apartments who only return to their homelands for deaths.
For the young Caribbean, especially the young Caribbean artist of the diaspora, I definitely recommend The Return. A vibrant mix of poetry and prose, the international best seller is a captivating tale of remembrance and the voyages immigrants take that have a heavy toll upon us mentally, emotionally, and culturally.
Labels: 50 books in 52 weeks, dany laferriere, dany laferrière, the return