* Simultaneously haunting and horrific, this is an outstanding novel from a young writer of exceptional ability
It is 1937, and Amabelle Desir is a young Haitian woman working as a maid for a wealthy family in the Dominican Republic, across the border from her homeland. The Republic, under the iron rule of the Generalissimo, treats the Haitians as second-class citizens, and although Amabelle feels a strong sense of loyalty to her employers, especially since her own parents drowned crossing the river from Haiti, racial tensions are heightened when Amabelle's boss accidentally kills a Haitian in a car accident. The accident is a catalyst for a systematic round-up of Haitians, ostensibly for repatriation but in fact a prelude to slaughter. Amabelle, caught up in the chaos and confusion, returns to Haiti after much hardship to make a new life, but is for years uncertain of the fate of her lover, Sebastian, and haunted by a nagging sense of guilt.
A powerful, fiercely economical and deceptively moving work, blending historical accuracy with lyrical brilliance.
Extraordinary - TIME OUT
Danticat delicately tiptoes through bougainvillaea and butterflies into minefields of rape, mayhem, insanity, suicide, terror. - Fay Weldon, MAIL ON SUNDAY
A first novel of precocious maturity - INDEPENDENT
A writer of great force with still more potential - INDEPENDENT