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The Farming Of Bones


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* Repeat advertising campaign in the GUARDIAN * Review round-ups in the national press * Feature coverage to include SHE, RED, THE VOICE and PRIDE

About the Author

Edwidge Danticat is the author of a novel, BREATH, EYES, MEMORY, and a collection of interlinked stories, KRIK KRAK!, which was shortlisted for the National Book Award in the US. She was also one of GRANTA's Best Young American Novelists.


In 1937, Generalissmo Rafael Trujillo ordered his army to slaughter as many as 20,000 men, women, and children living within the borders of the Dominican Republic. Haitian American novelist Danticat explores that brutal massacre through the story of servant Amabelle and her lover, Sebastien. Their tale is interspersed with flashbacks to Amabelle's childhood and memories of her own tragically killed parents; it is suffused throughout with calm, lyrical, sensual language that successfully counterpoints the heartbreak and violence described. Danticat is already well known for her novel Breath, Eyes, Memory (LJ 3/15/94), recently chosen for Oprah Winfrey's book club, and the story collection Krik? Krak! (LJ 3/15/95). Highly recommended for all libraries.‘Mary Margaret Benson, Linfield Coll. Lib., McMinnville, OR

'A writer of great force with still more potential' INDEPENDENT 'Her greatest strength is to resist sensationalism and sentimentality ... She uses fiction to portray a world in which there is no resolution' THE TIMES 'A powerful, haunting novel' TIME

YA-At one time the people of Haiti and the Dominican Republic accepted and nurtured their interdependency. Trujillo's racist regime marked the end of this peaceful coexistence with the deplorable Massacre of 1937. This tragic and horrific ethnic cleansing is remembered by Amabelle, an aging Haitian woman who lived through this period as a young girl. Orphaned when her parents are swept away by a swollen river, she is cared for by the Haitian community across the river in the Dominican Republic. Eventually she falls in love with Sebastien Onius, a worker in the cane fields; their lives are forever entangled as the events of 1937 gather them in. She flees, becoming companion and nursemaid for the wife of Señor Pico Duarte, a member of Trujillo's inner circle. For the rest of her life, Amabelle searches for Sebastien, never completely able to accept his death. Danticat's lyrical writing propels readers forward. This is an emotionally charged story and a powerful historical account that helps readers understand the radical division that exists between two countries on a single island.-Dottie Kraft, formerly at Fairfax County Public Schools, VA

The almost dreamlike pace of Danticat's second novel (Breath, Eyes, Memory, 1994) and the measured narration by the protagonist, Amabelle Désir, at first give no indication that this will be a story of furious violence and nearly unbearable loss. The setting, the Dominican Republic in 1937, when dictator Trujillo was beginning his policy of genocide, is a clue, however, to the events that Amabelle relates. She and her lover, Sebastien Onius, are Haitians who have crossed the border. Amabelle is a servant to a patrician family, while Sebastien endures the brutal conditions of work in the cane fields. The lovers each have poignant memories of parental deaths, and other deaths enter the narrative early, subtly presaging the slaughter that is to come. Haitians in the DR, always regarded as foreigners, are "an orphaned people, a group of vwayaje, wayfarers.'' When a military-led assault against them does erupt, it is a surprise, however, and as Amabelle barely survives a massacre by soldiers and an equally bloodthirsty civilian population, the narrative acquires the unflinching clarity of a documentary. In addition to illuminating a shameful, little known chapter of history, Danticat gives us fully realized characters who endure their lives with dignity, a sensuously atmospheric setting and a perfectly paced narrative written in prose that is lushly poetic and erotic, specifically detailed (the Haitians were betrayed by their inability to pronounce "parsley") and starkly realistic. While this novel is deeply sad, it is infused with Danticat's fierce need to bear witness, coupled with a knowledge that "life can be a strange gift'' even when memory makes endurance a difficult task. 50,000 first printing; first serial to VLS; QPB selection; rights sold in U.K., Germany, Spain, Holland, Denmark and Finland; paperback rights to Penguin; author tour.Sept.)

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