Author: Nick Lake
Title: In Darkness
Description: In the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, a teenaged boy lies trapped beneath the rubble of a destroyed hospital. As he lies there, he remembers the events that have led up to his hospitalization, caused by a gunshot wound. He also has memories of another life—not his, but that of his country’s liberator, Toussaint L’Ouverture.
Review source: I think I picked up at ALA.
Plot: I was disoriented for a good while until I figured out what was going on with the flashbacks, etc. There are two plots running parallel: the modern day story of Shorty the teenage gangster in Cite Soleil and Toussaint’s story of liberation.
Characters: In Cite Soleil, teenage boys (and younger) are the drug lords’ henchmen, mostly because the young men die off so quickly that rarely does one make it to his twenties. In both modern and historical Haiti, there isn’t much room for idealism; even people who try to do good have to make some big compromises along the way.
Writing style: Shorty uses a lot of creole or Haitian slang, but it can be figured out.
Audience: I get the impression that this was meant to be a YA novel; if so, it’s got major profanity issues and would be a fairly difficult read for under-16. Totally works as an adult novel.
Wrap-up: Every once in a while I get fascinated by a topic, and Haiti is one that I can’t let go. I did some research on Haiti for grad school, now this book—and after I read this one, I just wanted to go out and read more about Haiti. So Mountains Beyond Mountains is on its way, and I’m going to read some Danticat as well, as a start. I know Julia Alvarez has a new Haiti book out as well. Back to this one, though—4/5*