"Shorty" is a Haitian boy trapped in the ruins of a hospital when the earth explodes around him. Surrounded by lifeless bodies and growing desperately weak from lack of food and water, death seems imminent. Yet as Shorty waits in darkness for a rescue that may never come, he becomes aware of another presence, one reaching out to him across two hundred years of history. It is the presence of slave and revolutionary leader Toussaint L'Ouverture, whose life was marred by violence, and whose own end came in darkness. What unites a child of the slums with the man who would shake a troubled country out of slavery? Is it the darkness they share... or is it hope?
Raw, harrowing, and peopled with vibrant characters, In Darkness is an extraordinary book about the cruelties of man and nature, and the valiant, ongoing struggle for a country's very survival.
In Darkness is a powerful, violent story. It is suitable for both teens and adults who can handle brutal, descriptive detail. It is absolutely worth reading and will leave the reader wanting to know more about Haiti's incredible history. (Reviewed by Tamara Smith).
Starred Review. A dark journey well worth taking - engrossing, disturbing, illuminating.
Starred Review. The portrait it reveals of a country relegated throughout history to brutality and neglect is powerful and moving.
The Wall Street Journal
Remarkable... Lake's elegant, restrained prose and distinct characters will reward adults and older teenagers able to brave a story with strong language, harrowing scenes of brutality and an almost painful stab of joy at the end.
The Bookbag (UK)
Readers, old and young alike, will come away from In Darkness with a meaningful understanding of what it is to be Haitian. And what it is like to have the world fall down on you. Highly, highly, and thrice highly recommended. Don't miss it.
Patrick Ness, author of A Monster Calls In Darkness is a serious, nuanced, challenging novel. Trust me, there are plenty of young readers who hunger for exactly that.
François-Dominique Toussaint l'Ouverture was born circa 1743 in the French colony of Saint-Domingue (which would later become Haiti) to an educated slave named Gaou-Guinou, who was probably a member of the African Arrada tribe. According to biographer D. Augustus Straker (1908), "So remarkable were [l'Ouverture's] traits of character that the superintendent on the plantation where Toussaint worked as a slave granted him, it is said, unusual privileges, among these the opportunity to learn to read and write, which he did, making also fair progress in arithmetic."
He was a dedicated Roman Catholic, which was the official religion of Haiti, and purportedly did not believe in vodou, a popular Creole religion. Clever, hard-working, and smart, as well as calm and level-headed, he won the respect of the plantation manager, and became a livestock handler, healer, coachman and steward. He was declared legally free in 1776 but continued to work at the plantation, presumably as a salaried employee.
From the best-selling author of The Dew Breaker, a major work of nonfiction: a powerfully moving family story that centers around the men closest to Danticat's heart - her father, Mira, and his older brother, Joseph.
Oct. 11th, 1943 - A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it's barely begun.
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