The Garden of Broken Things Summary and Reviews

The Garden of Broken Things

A novel

by Francesca Momplaisir

The Garden of Broken Things by Francesca Momplaisir X
The Garden of Broken Things by Francesca Momplaisir
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  • Published May 2022
    320 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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Book Summary

A novel about one family wading through the aftermath of the earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010, from the acclaimed author who has been compared to Toni Morrison "at the height of her power" (Harper's Bazaar)—a haunting and astonishing story of restoration and disaster, motherhood, and the bonds that carry through generations.

Genevieve, a single mother, flies from New York to Port-au-Prince with her teenage son, Miles. The trip is meant to be an education for fifteen-year-old Miles—a chance to learn about his family's roots while coming to terms with his father's departure—but it's also an excuse for Genevieve to escape the city, where her life is dominated by her failed marriage and the daily pressures of raising Black children in America. For Genevieve, the journey is also a homecoming of sorts: An opportunity to visit the island she remembers from childhood and reconnect with family. But when the country is rocked by a massive earthquake—decimating the city and putting their lives at risk—their visit becomes a nightmare of survival.

Written before the horrific earthquake that struck Haiti in 2021, The Garden of Broken Things delivers readers beyond the headlines and into the shattered world of a distant family—coming together, forced apart—suddenly brought to the brink.

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Media Reviews

"Powerful ... Momplaisir's luminous prose evokes the heat, smells, colors, and sounds of Port au Prince, lulling readers into believing that all will be well. Then the earth convulses ... Superlative in her ability to portray the interior lives of mothers and their 24/7 litany of self-recrimination, Momplaisir also tackles themes of racism, immigration, and the lasting effects of colonialism. A notable achievement." —Library Journal, starred

"The Haiti scenes sizzle with detail, but the U.S. ones falter in comparison...Still, Momplaisir has talent, and while the edges may be rough, this is a moving glimpse into the dynamics of Haitian diasporic culture." —Publishers Weekly

"This complex tale of motherhood, saturated with guilt and envy, examines the consequences of the past for both those who leave their homes and those who are left behind." —Booklist

This information about The Garden of Broken Things was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Francesca Momplaisir

Francesca Momplaisir is the author of My Mother's House and The Garden of Broken Things. Born in Haiti, she studied at Columbia University, the University of Oxford, and New York University. She earned a doctorate in African and African diaspora literature as an NYU MacCracken fellow under her supervisor and mentor, Ngugi wa Thiong'o. She is a recipient of a Fulbright fellowship to travel to Ghana to research the cultural retention and memory of the transatlantic slave trade. She lives in the New York City metro area.

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