From the universally acclaimed author of Breath, Eyes, Memory and Krik? Krak!, a brilliant, deeply moving work of fiction that explores the world of a "dew breaker"a torturera man whose brutal crimes in the country of his birth lie hidden beneath his new American reality.
We meet him late in his life. He is a quiet man, a husband and father, a hardworking barber, a kindly landlord to the men who live in a basement apartment in his home. He is a fixture in his Brooklyn neighborhood, recognizable by the terrifying scar on his face. As the book unfolds, moving seamlessly between Haiti in the 1960s and New York City today, we enter the lives of those around him: his devoted wife and rebellious daughter; his sometimes unsuspecting, sometimes apprehensive neighbors, tenants, and clients. And we meet some of his victims.
In the books powerful denouement, we return to the Haiti of the dew breakers past, to his last, desperate act of violence, and to his first encounter with the woman who will offer him a form of redemptionalbeit imperfectthat will change him forever. The Dew Breaker is a book of interconnected livesa book of love, remorse, and hope; of rebellions both personal and political; of the compromises we often make in order to move beyond the most intimate brushes with history. Unforgettable, deeply resonant, The Dew Breaker proves once more that in Edwidge Danticat we have a major American writer.
Amazon.com - Regina Marler
Although it is frustrating, sometimes, to let go of one narrative thread to follow another, The Dew Breaker is a beautifully constructed novel that spirals back to the reformed prison guard at the end, while holding unanswered the question of redemption.
Rocky Mountain News - Jenny Shank The Dew Breaker never wavers in placing its attention on individual lives, and as [Danticat] moves from one character to another you feel she is holding their faces up to you . . . [An] accomplished novel.
Associated Press - Jeannette J. Lee
[Danticat’s] prose is at once stately and riveting, echoing sincere grief for Haiti’s plight and capturing the intensity of violent times.
People - Champ Clark
Filled with quiet intensity and elegant, thought-provoking prose . . . An elegiac and powerful novel with a fresh presentation of evil and the healing potential of forgiveness.
The New York Observer - Daniel Asa Rose
With her grace and her imperishable humanity, her devotion to lives lived like ‘a pendulum between forgiveness and regret,’ [Danticat] . . . makes sadness beautiful.
Christian Science Monitor - Ron Charles
The stories relate to one another like beautiful shards of a broken vase . . . Haunting . . . A flawless finale . . . [Danticat] is a master at capturing the inarticulate sorrow and bafflement that evil inspires.
San Francisco Chronicle - Kate Washington
In its varied characters, its descriptive power and its tightly linked images and themes, [The Dew Breaker] is a rewarding and affecting read, rich with insights not just about Haiti but also about the human condition.
Newsday - Daphne Uviller The Dew Breaker is a captivating, eloquent tale told by a nimble storyteller.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer - John Marshall
A serious-minded work of a mature talent, a searching examination of terror and its lingering aftershocks on generations . . . Gripping . . . Powerful.
USA Today - Bob Minzesheimer
It's beautifully written fiction about the real-life horror that is Haiti. Seamlessly blending the personal and political, it deals with what happens to a country and its people when mothers and fathers disappear for their political transgressions.
The New York Times - Michiko Kakutani
Each tale in The Dew Breaker could stand on its own as a beautifully made story, but they come together like jigsaw-puzzle pieces to create a picture of this man's terrible history and his and his victims' afterlife. Some of the puzzle pieces are missing of course, but this is a matter of design. It is a measure of Ms. Danticat's fierce, elliptical artistry that she makes the elisions count as much as her piercing, indelible words.
The Washington Post's Book World - Meri Nana-Ama Danquah
Danticat awakens us to the beauty and terror that can exist in everyday life in Haiti. The Dew Breaker is a brilliant book, undoubtedly the best one yet by an enormously talented writer.
The slow accumulation of details pinpointing the past's effects on the present makes for powerful reading, however, and Danticat is a crafter of subtle, gorgeous sentences and scenes.
Booklist - Donna Seaman
Starred Review. Danticat's masterful depiction of the emotional and spiritual reverberations of tyranny and displacement reveals the intricate mesh of relationships that defines every life, and the burden of traumatic inheritances the crimes and tragedies that one generation barely survives, the next must reconcile.
Library Journal - Faye A Chadwell
This tour de force will certainly earn Danticat the same high acclaim she gained from her three previous works, which include National Book Award finalist Krik? Krak! Highly recommended.
Danticat's voice is that of a seasoned veteran, her pages wise and saddened, struggling on the pendulum between regret and forgiveness. Searing fiction with the lived-in feel of the best memoir.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Tom Lyler The Dew Breaker I really enjoyed all the stories in this book. Many of these stories helped me to see in a different perspective of countries like Haiti and such. This whole book revolves around theme, motifs, and symbols which makes it that much better. Danticat... Read More
Rated of 5
by Shalonda Hutchins My overall opinion of THE Dew Breaker This book shows yet another aspect of how Haiti is and was ruled during that time and the present. This book also shows how a man that is a father and a husband can lead a double life without anyone suspecting that he is a part of the non... Read More
Rated of 5
by Murraymint The Dew Breaker This book is not engaging me at all I'm afraid.
I am 90% done with it, and can honestly say that not one character has interested me enough to want to read more about them. The links between chapters are tenuous, and the whole story feels... Read More
Rated of 5
by Melissa Beauvery
This book will bring out emotions that you never know you posessed. Beautifully written with a powerful yet subtle ending. Excellent I feel a sequel coming involving the characters in the book. Its so moving it brings tears to your eyes. I just... Read More
Rated of 5
A beautifully written work. Danticat is a writer that never lets you down and never end her works the way you expect.
Rated of 5
The concept was good but she could have done more with it. A bit too short to get at all attached to the story.
Poor Haiti! Columbus found the island in 1492 and named it Hispanola.
Before long the native Arawak Indians were virtually extinct (Hayti
means mountainous land in the Arawak language). By the mid-17th
Century Haiti was colonized by the French and was a productive source of
cocoa, cotton, sugar cane and coffee. Demand for products created
demand for inexpensive labor so slaves were imported from West Africa.
By the late 18th century Haiti was one of the wealthiest regions in the
world and a comfortable place to be for the lucky few at the top of the
Haitian tree. However the problems that still effect Haiti today
were brewing. The slaves had brought with them the practice of
voodoo which clashed with Catholicism, the French were exceptionally harsh
in their treatment of their slaves, creating hatred from an already
simmering environment. Lastly, a class of mulattos arose from the
offspring of slaves and slave owners creating a class system that is still
present today - the...
From the author of the internationally acclaimed, award-winning The Harmony Silk Factory comes an enthralling new novel that evokes an exotic yet turbulent and often frightening time and place. Map of the Invisible World is the masterly, psychologically rich tale of three lives indelibly marked by the pasttheir own and...
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A Man Called Intrepid author dies aged 89(Dec 03 2013) William Stevenson, a journalist and author who drew on his close ties with intelligence sources to write two best-selling books in the 1970s, A Man Called...