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The Farming of Bones by Edwidge Danticat
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The Farming of Bones (original 1998; edition 1998)

by Edwidge Danticat

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8782110,093 (4)92
Member:MeditationesMartini
Title:The Farming of Bones
Authors:Edwidge Danticat
Info:Penguin Books (1999), Paperback, 312 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:2013/01/17

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The Farming of Bones by Edwidge Danticat (1998)

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Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
I have to take a test on this for English "orz
  ku. | Sep 20, 2014 |
Amabelle is a Haitian woman living in the Dominican Republic at the time of the conflict between the two countries in 1937. She was orphaned when her parents were swallowed by the river separating the two countries. She was taken in by a wealthy Dominican family, but it is no longer safe. She and her fiancee Sebastien are separated by the war. Yves helps see her back to safety in Haiti. Over the years, she clings to the hope of a reunion. I won't say more for fear of giving away the plot. This is a well-written novel that is touching. The author does a wonderful job building characters and in description. A very touching story. ( )
  thornton37814 | Dec 30, 2013 |
Gutwrenching. ( )
  50MinuteMermaid | Nov 14, 2013 |
As the story begins, a young Hatian woman named Amabell Desir is working in the Dominican Republic. She sees her life as settled: a good job and a fiancé guarantee her future. In 1937 the policies of dictator Rafael Trajillo sets off a wave of genocidal killings that destroys Amabelle’s world. This would be a good book for fans of Book of Negroes, Anil’s Ghost, The Disappeared, or Dogs at the Perimeter. This is a fifteenth anniversary release of this American Book Award winner.
  vplprl | Nov 7, 2013 |
The Farming of Bones by Edwidge Danticat chronicles the slaughter of Haitians living in the Dominican Republic in the 1930s. The story is told through the eyes of Amabelle Desir, a Haitian orphan who has lived most of her life as a servant to a well to do family on the border between the countries.

Amabelle has already been through so much by the time the book opens. Her past is buried in her nightmares and soon she will be facing new dangers. Despite all the heartbreak, violence and death, Amabelle remains a survivor both in body and spirit.

The book reminds me most of Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee. Both have humanity in flight, violence brought on by state sponsored bigotry and a stubborn will to survive. The language is beautiful and heartbreaking.

I learned of the book through Elise Blackwell's guest post. It was the first book on her list of recommended reads of historical fiction. She describes the genre as "lying to tell the truth." I plan to read through the remaining books that I haven't already read.

Recommended by Elise Blackwell ( )
  pussreboots | May 26, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0140280499, Paperback)

In a 1930s Dominican Republic village, the scream of a woman in labor rings out like the shot heard around Hispaniola. Every detail of the birth scene--the balance of power between the middle-aged Señora and her Haitian maid, the babies' skin color, not to mention which child is to survive--reverberates throughout Edwidge Danticat's Farming of Bones. In fact, rather than a celebration of fecundity, the unexpected double delivery gels into a metaphor for the military-sponsored mass murder of Haitian emigrants. As the Señora's doctor explains: "Many of us start out as twins in the belly and do away with the other."

But Danticat's powerful second novel is far from a currently modish victimization saga, and can hold its own with such modern classics as One Hundred Years of Solitude and The Color Purple. Its watchful narrator, the Señora's shy Haitian housemaid, describes herself as "one of those sea stones that sucks its colors inside and loses its translucence once it's taken out into the sun." An astute observer of human character, Amabelle Désir is also a conduit for the author's tart, poetic prose. Her lover, Sebastian, has "arms as wide as one of my bare thighs," while the Señora's complicit officer husband is "still shorter than the average man, even in his military boots."

The orphaned Amabelle comes to assume almost messianic proportions, but she is entirely fictional, as is the town of Alegría where the tale begins. The genocide and exodus, however, are factual. Indeed, the atrocities committed by Dominican president Rafael Trujillo's army back in 1937 rival those of Duvalier's Touton Macoutes. History has rendered Trujillo's carnage much less visible than Duvalier's, but no less painful. As Amabelle's father once told her, "Misery won't touch you gentle. It always leaves its thumbprints on you; sometimes it leaves them for others to see, sometimes for nobody but you to know of." Thanks to Danticat's stellar novel, the world will now know. --Jean Lenihan

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:47:33 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

The Farming of Bones begins in 1937 in a village on the Dominican side of the river that separates the country from Haiti. Amabelle Desir, Haitian-born and a faithful maidservant to the Dominican family that took her in when she was orphaned, and her lover Sebastien, an itinerant sugarcane cutter, decide they will marry and return to Haiti at the end of the cane season. However, hostilities toward Haitian laborers find a vitriolic spokesman in the ultra nationalist Generalissimo Trujillo who calls for an ethnic cleansing of his Spanish speaking country. As rumors of Haitian persecution become fact, as anxiety turns to terror, Amabelle and Sebastien's dreams are leveled to the most basic human desire: to endure. Based on a little known historical event, this extraordinarily moving novel memorializes the forgotten victims of nationalist madness and the deeply felt passion and grief of its survivors.… (more)

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