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In Darkness by Nick Lake
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In Darkness

by Nick Lake

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3953240,863 (3.74)26
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Natural disasters
  Clippers | Dec 21, 2017 |
In Darkness by Nick Lake packs a lot of story into it’s pages. As a young boy lies buried in the rubble of a hospital after the 2010 catastrophic earthquake in Haiti, his dreams, memories and thoughts form the dialogue that shapes this book. We learn of Haiti’s history as a nation that was born of a slave revolution to it’s position today as one of the world’s poorest countries. The main character is Shorty, who was in hospital recovering from a gunshot wound that occurred through gang warfare.

Now he is lying in darkness, suffering from extreme thirst and heat, surrounded by dead bodies and rats, waiting to either be rescued or to die. As time passes he swings between hallucinations of his hero, Toussaint L’Ouverture, the rebel leader of the 18th century slave revolution and his own memories of his violent life in the poorest of Haiti’s slums. The author relies on Haitian religion and mythology to justify the connection between the present and the past but this format didn’t always work for me. I found myself confused as the characters switched identities abruptly.

I think my annoyance with the dual narrative in this book was because I was totally captivated by Shorty’s own story. It’s dark, gritty and heartbreaking. Shorty has not always made the right choices in the past and he’s done some terrible things, but the story rang true. In Darkness is full of violence as it describes the bleak life of a slum kid, but this emotionally powerful story is full of complex and realistic characters that pull you into the story and the author was wise enough to end the book on a note of hope which was badly needed by the reader by the end of this disturbing story. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Oct 20, 2017 |
Printz award 2014
read 5 chapters and gave it up.
  jothebookgirl | Jan 3, 2017 |
In Darkness is a well written historical fiction that weaves recent Haitian history into the life of Toussaint Louverture. It was an insightful look into this unique culture. ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
In Darkness is a well written historical fiction that weaves recent Haitian history into the life of Toussaint Louverture. It was an insightful look into this unique culture. ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
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Epigraph
At the beginning of the troubles in Haiti, I felt that I was destined to great things.  When I received this divine intimation I was four-and-fifty years of age; I could neither read nor write.
Toussaint l'Ouverture in a letter to Napoleon Bonaparte
Though fallen thyself, never to rise again,
Live, and take comfort. Thou has left behind
Powers that will work for thee; air, earth, and skies;
There's not a breathing of the common wind
That will forget thee; thou has great allies;
Thy friends are exultations, agonies,
And love, and man's unconquerable mind.

William Wordsworth, to Toussaint l'Ovuverture
Dedication
For the people of Site Soley
First words
I am the voice in the dark, calling out for your help.
Quotations
It was true that there was no need on earth that could not be slaked and satisfied.  When you are thirsty there is water. When you are hungry there is food. It is impossible to need a thing without that thing being available for the having.  A man may want a green horse that flies, but he cannot need one, for there is no such thing.
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In the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake, fifteen-year-old Shorty, a poor gang member from the slums of Site Soleil, is trapped in the rubble of a ruined hospital, and as he grows weaker he has visions and memories of his life of violence, his lost twin sister, and of Toussaint L'Ouverture, who liberated Haiti from French rule in the 1804.… (more)

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