The Farming of the Bones
Edwidge Danticat possesses a gift for narrating excruciating scenes with a poetic economy. This talent makes the 1937 Haitian massacre a perfect backdrop for The Farming of the Bones. The title refers to the grueling sugar-cane cutting work carried out by the narrator's lover, as well as the bloodbath that soon tears their lives asunder. The orphaned couple emigrated from Haiti separately, crossing the border into the Dominican Republic a few years before Hispaniola's division flared into a violently contested issue. It is at this moment that The Farming begins, a tale of love and perseverance amidst violent upheaval. What sets the novel apart from romanticized or dryly factual historical fiction is that Haitian-born Danticat creates an intimate space where hurricanes chart errant courses of destruction and bloodshed throws open the front door but personal relationships remain foregrounded. The considerable skills that decorated Danticat as a National Book Award Finalist and recipient of Oprah's Book Club Award are in full evidence here.