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Read advance reader review of Devil Makes Three by Ben Fountain, page 2 of 5

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Devil Makes Three

A Novel

by Ben Fountain

Devil Makes Three by Ben Fountain X
Devil Makes Three by Ben Fountain
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  • Published Sep 2023
    544 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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There are currently 32 member reviews
for Devil Makes Three
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  • M K. (Minneapolis, MN)
    Devil Makes Three
    Devil Makes Three is a riveting detective novel, a thriller with political intrigue, many interwoven love stories and rise and collapse of Haiti after the coup replacing Aristide, the first democratically leader of their country. It's a long involved saga with many layers of chaos, deception, and truth. The novel is a roller coaster ride worth holding on tight. I enjoyed this gorgeous novel about what happens when a democratic country falls apart.
  • Cathy Thibeault
    Haiti in turmoil
    I have known Haiti to be a poor country, but it was always an abstract knowledge. Ben Fountain brought the plight of Haiti to the forefront. His description of the ordinary life of ordinary people living in Haiti was heartbreaking. His descriptive writing and vast knowledge of their history, poverty, and fear were intense. The problems they faced while just trying to survive made me cringe.

    Mr. Fountain presented their fear as a palpable, living thing. I was blown away by his prose and presentation. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone interested in history in the making as we follow the lives of the Haitian people and their leaders. An intense read.
  • Judith G. (Greenbrae, CA)
    DEVIL MAKES THREE
    Ben Fountain's Devil Makes Three is a large book in every sense: large-hearted, large in sweep, large in memorable characters and stories, large in meaning (and physically large at 531 pp.). It's the story of an American and his Haitian partner whose diving business is appropriated by the state, and who turn to diving for buried treasure ships with horrifying results. It's the story of the Haitian's sister, a Ph.D. Philosophy candidate at Brown who instead winds up working in a desperately underfunded Haitian hospital. It's the story of an U.S. aid worker whose actual work in no way resembles her title. It's the story of voodoo. It's the story of a U.S. sponsored coup in the 90's, which removed Aristide, the democratically-elected president.

    It's about the poverty in Haiti, the chaos, the drug-running, the corruption, the beauty, the resilience of its people. In truth, the main character is Haiti itself, and Ben Fountain embraces all of it—takes the reader right into its heart, lets us feel its pulse. There is so much going on here, the scope is so wide that although every part of it is compelling, it sometimes becomes too much of a good thing and makes the going difficult. But overall, Devil Makes Three is a beautifully written, unique and powerful novel that changed how I look at Haiti, at history, and at my government.
  • Beth B. (New Wilmington, PA)
    Searching for the Devil
    Fasten your seat belts as our skillful pilot, Ben Fountain, transports readers to Haiti. You'll meet memorable characters and be exposed to conspiracies in a search of truth and justice in an unsettled period of history. Who is being duped? Is this real or does it just appear to be?

    Complexities, compromise, and complications are at the center of a search for truth and justice. Matt and Alix are confronted with events that highlight the eternal struggle between short-term pain or long-term gain. Lots of fodder for individual readers or a book club selection.
  • Ellie B. (Mount Airy, MD)
    Exceptional, insightful novel of Haiti's recent history
    This timely novel gives, through the well developed characters, insight into the character of a Haitian family. The author knows the country well; its people and its politics. The depth of knowledge of the author on every subject is impressive. I highly suggest this book for discussion groups, it is well written. I personally enjoyed his way of helping me visualize the setting, such as "an acoustic drop ceiling rorschached with water stains". And since Haiti is in the news today, knowing the details of life 30 years ago is helpful in understanding today's issues. The images and emotions I experienced from reading the book will stay with me.
  • Dorothy M. (Maynard, MA)
    Great book about a dark and troubling bit of history
    Haiti, plagued with poverty, corrupt, lawless, and brutal police, politicians and military, international interference in its government - mostly by the US - and natural disasters is the poorest country in the western hemisphere. In Devil Makes Three, Ben Fountain gives us the story of the period in Haitian history when a US sponsored coup removed Aristide, the first democratically elected president, from office. While there is a large and complex cast of characters, the voices in the story are mainly Alix, a Haitian business man, his sister Misha who is completing her PHD at Brown when the book begins, and Matt, an American who comes to Haiti as Alix's business partner in a dive shop. We also follow Shelly/Audrey, a CIA operative posing as a political attache who is convinced that since the US is the best country in the world the end justifies the means, no matter what chaos those means create - because, of course, it is always for the greater good. An important part of the story centers around the conviction that there are gold treasures in sunken ships and everyone wants a piece of them. We see the lack of control that people have when the government - or the gangs - simply walk in and take your business; when there is no reliable medical care; when an international embargo shuts down supplies and leaves people to starve. Fountain looks at the impact of voodoo in the Haitian culture and, because he is a superb writer, he makes you care about what happens to these people. This is a complicated story but it is well told and well worth your time to read. And if there is not a totally happy ending - well, it's Haiti.
  • Peggy K. (Frederick, CO)
    Haitian History Made Human
    Ben Fountain's terrific new novel, Devil Makes Three, takes the reader on an unforgettable journey into modern Haiti (with side excursions down the dark alleys of its politically corrupt history. Matt Amaker is copartner of a scuba diving business with his Haitian friend, Alix Variel, when the coup against democratically elected Aristide ends his dreams of a thriving future. Across town, Audrey O'Donnell is a rookie CIA officer intent on a clandestine mission. Paths cross and missions collide as a delightful cast of characters--American and Haitian--all seek to make it rich, find love, and even make a positive difference in the lives of Haiti's long-suffering people.

    Fountain stirs up a flavorful étouffée of Haitian politics, history, geography, and language in this substantial novel (544 pages) that both enlightens and entertains. As Matt and Alix shift their focus to diving legendary shipwrecks to find treasure, Alix's sister Misha, finds herself moving away from her PhD plans in America to help at a local Haitian clinic. Fountain weaves in a solid love story, as well, that keeps the novel from being purely a political thriller.

    It is also a very chatty novel, but at times the dialogue and descriptions tap the brakes on a complex story that needs movement to survive, much like a shark that needs to keep swimming. Despite moments of flowery exposition and nonessential chit-chat, Fountain puts flesh on the bones of his characters, all of whom have a deep regard for a country in upheaval. Full of underwater adventure and above-water drama, Fountain puts Haiti—in all its multicolored grandeur and pathos—center stage in this fascinating and rewarding long novel.

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