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Read advance reader review of Devil Makes Three by Ben Fountain, page 3 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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Page 3 of 5
There are currently 32 member reviews
for Devil Makes Three
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  • Patricia L. (Seward, AK)
    Haitian Lowdown
    "…Haiti Travel Advisory July 27, 2023 Do not travel to Haiti due to kidnapping, crime, civil unrest, and poor health care infrastructure."
    Haiti,1991. American Matt Amaker is finally making a little profit from ScubaRave his diving business. His Haitian partner Alix Variel's family has embraced him to the point of calling him son. Something that could become legitimate should he marry Alix's sister Misha as he hopes. Matt's dreams are dulled however as Haiti's fragile society starts to unravel, yet again. The first democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide is ousted after seven months in office. An unfortunate incident during a dive with some military officials puts Matt in the crosshairs of dueling forces; a pawn in the chess game between Haitian military, USAID and whoever else may see value in befriending and/or betraying him, his friends, and his enemies.
    Devil Makes Three is an historic saga of Haiti's struggles with governing, outside intervention, both caring and opportunistic, woven with adventure, intrigue, romance, and violence. Though not a quick read it is recommended for those who want to learn about Haiti's storied past and gain some understanding of why the US would issue such an advisory thirty years later.
  • Jo S. (Tonganoxie, KS)
    A morally complex political thriller, love story and history lesson.
    Ben fountains Devil Makes Three is set in Haiti in the early nineties during the US governments involvement in the violent Coup d'état fall of the democratically elected president Jean Bertrand Aristide.

    The story unfolds surrounding the rise of a brutal military dictatorship, an international embargo, drug trafficking and how the local Haitian civilians, American expats, CIA agents and local Haitian leaders are affected. Some use the chaos to take advantage of money and power while others are just trying to survive day by day. This is a love story, a history lesson and a political thriller. It is a brilliant picture in all things sorrowful about war and violence and the beauty of the human spirit.

    At times I couldn't put it down and other times I felt lost and confused but it definitely made me want to read more about Haiti's history. I admit I don't read a lot of political thrillers so some of the political jargon was especially confusing but I could sense it was sharp and meaningful so I spent a lot of time looking things up and at 531 pages this really dragged out the time reading this monstrously long book! That's the only complaint I have because the story itself is excellent! 3.75 stars for me only because it was so long and felt it to be a bit wordy in places it didn't need to be. Hopefully the published version will include an index and references to help the reader along.

    I would recommend this book for serious book clubs that do not mind long books and like to dive in and discuss the nitty gritty as there is so much to discuss in this book!
  • Anne G. (Austin, TX)
    Devil Makes Three by Ben Fountain
    Matt Amaker has just about reached the break-even point with his dive business operating off the coast of Haiti. When Aristide falls to a military coup things take a drastic turn. Matt reimagines his business into a treasure hunting venture that explores old, underwater vessels for what ever they might contain but also attracts some unfortunate attention.

    There is also a rookie CIA officer who is in way over her head. Readers are given this woman's real name (Audrey O'Donnell) as well as her operative name (Shelley Graber) for reasons I couldn't discern and it is nothing but confusing in an already challenging and complex story of good guys vs bad. This story illustrates the cost of military dictatorships, Bush imposed embargoes, people and entities masquerading as something they are not. It's easy for the characters to get pulled unwittingly into bad situations.

    Ben Fountain knows his stuff when it comes to Haiti's problems and with excellent storytelling he melds the political with the characters to make the story both engaging and informative and shines a light on a somewhat unsettled part of the world.
  • Laura D. (Newmarket, NH)
    Unique Story
    This book is difficult to get into. Persevere! I recommend reading the first two chapters, reading a Wikipedia article on the 1991 Haitian coup d'état, and then skimming the first two chapters again. That will give you enough information to get into the story. After 50 pages, it flowed very well. I learned so much about Haiti from this book! The story was gripping, even if I never did figure out exactly who a lot of the Haitian military members were. I especially enjoyed the stories of family, friends, and lovers, and the details about Haitian life. It is hard to categorize this book…It is part historical fiction, part governmental/political fiction, and part world fiction (at least to this US reader). I think a list of characters with a short description of who each is would go a long way to eliminating confusion and allow the reader to access the story more easily.
  • Rebecca G. (Havertown, PA)
    Devil Makes Three
    This book is a challenging read. It's an interesting story of survival in Haiti during a different time in the country's history. I learned so much about Haiti and the struggles of Haitians who continue to deal with corruption and dangerous politicians. Unfortunately the book is longer than it needs to be. It's bogged down with unnecessary detail and technology. I had to do a lot of skimming which, as a reader, is frustrating. But it did inspire me to do more research on the coups in Haiti.
  • Maryanne H. (Delmar, NY)
    A "Detailed" Look at Post-Coup Haiti, 1991
    Ben Fountain's Devil Makes Three takes place in Haiti between the 1991 coup of Aristide and the 1992 US election of Bill Clinton. What Fountain does not know about Haiti, he has researched well, from the intricacies of scuba diving the reefs around the island, to contemporary theories of post-colonialism, to the many schemes, corruption and good will gone awry of political and power-hungry factions. All this information comes seamlessly through memorable characters: Matt and Alix, the diving duo, Shelly-Audrey, the CIA undercover political attaché, Misha, Alec's sister, home in Haiti, on hiatus from her Ph.D. studies at Brown, and the large number of well-developed FAd'H, ambassadorial staff, civilian Haitian characters. Fountain has unmatched, uncanny abilities of description. Several times, I reread sentences because he lit up the familiar in a totally new way. Devil Makes Three presents a strong case for the idiocy of violence, war, human to human cruelty; it has adventure, romance, voodoo, pathos, history. But sometimes I thought, Fountain gave us too much of a good thing.
  • Lisa G. (Port Washington, NY)
    Devil Makes Three
    Ben Fountain clearly is an expert in the culture, politics and history of Haiti. As I knew very little about the period in Haiti's history covered in the book, I learned a tremendous amount as he wove his extensive knowledge into the plot. The main characters were well developed, however there were so many other characters that it sometimes became confusing. In addition, there were many subplots that also could become confusing. All was wrapped up well in the last section of the book. A warning to those who are looking for a thriller, as some critics have categorized the book, I wouldn't consider it a thriller but rather literary fiction. I would recommend this book to readers of literary and historical fiction.


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