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Brother, I'm dying /

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Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Center Point Pub., 2008
Edition: Center Point large print edition.
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From the best-selling author of The Dew Breaker, a major work of nonfiction: a powerfully moving family story that centers around the men closest to her heart--her father, Mira, and his older brother, Joseph.
From the age of four, Edwidge Danticat came to think of her uncle Joseph, a charismatic pastor, as her second father, when she was placed in his care after her parents left Haiti for a better life in America. Listening to his sermons, sharing coconut-flavored ices on their walks through town, roaming through the house that held together many members of a colorful extended family, Edwidge grew profoundly attached to Joseph. He was the man who knew all the verses for love.
And so she experiences a jumble of emotions when, at twelve, she joins her parents in New York City. She is at last reunited with her two youngest brothers, and with her mother and father, whom she has struggled to remember. But she must also leave behind Joseph and the only home she's ever known.
Edwidge tells of making a new life in a new country while fearing for the safety of those still in Haiti as the political situation deteriorates. But Brother I'm Dying soon becomes a terrifying tale of good people caught up in events beyond their control. Late in 2004, his life threatened by an angry mob, forced to flee his church, the frail, eighty-one-year-old Joseph makes his way to Miami, where he thinks he will be safe. Instead, he is detained by U.S. Customs, held by the Department of Homeland Security, brutally imprisoned, and dead within days. It was a story that made headlines around the world. His brother, Mira, will soon join him in death, but not before he holds hope in his arms: Edwidge's firstborn, who will bear his name--and the family's stories, both joyous and tragic--into the next generation.
Told with tremendous feeling, this is a true-life epic on an intimate scale: a deeply affecting story of home and family--of two men's lives and deaths, and of a daughter's great love for them both.


Part 1He is My Brother
Have You Enjoyed Your Life?p. 11
Brother, I'm Dyingp. 36
What Did the White Man Say?p. 53
Heartstrings, Shoestringsp. 58
We're All Dyingp. 67
Good-byep. 71
Giving Birthp. 85
The Returnp. 96
One Papa Happy, One Papa Sadp. 106
Gypsyp. 123
Part 2For Adversity
Brother, I Can Speakp. 139
The Angel of Death and Father Godp. 150
You're Not a Policemanp. 157
Brother, I Leave You with a Heavy Heartp. 169
Beating the Darknessp. 183
Hellp. 195
Limbop. 208
No Greater Shamep. 222
Alien 27041999p. 230
Tomorrowp. 241
Afflictionsp. 246
Let the Stars Fallp. 253
Brother, I'll See You Soonp. 259
Transitionp. 267

Review by Booklist Review

"*Starred Review* In 2004, Danticat's uncle Joseph, a pastor in poor health at 81, fled Haiti after his church was burned, only to die under appalling circumstances in Florida's Krome detention center. Danticat drew on aspects of her uncle's life in her last novel, The Dew Breaker (2004), and now tells the true story straight in this consuming family memoir. Marshaling her considerable storytelling skills, Danticat vividly evokes the volatile Port-au-Prince neighborhood she called home after her parents emigrated to America and left her in the loving care of Joseph, her father's brother, and his wife. As she chronicles her uncle's experiences in politics and the church and the throat cancer that claimed his ability to speak, as well as her parents' lives in New York before and after she was reunited with them, Haiti's bloody history and ongoing turmoil form her narrative's molten core while voice becomes its leitmotif. In a shattering yet redemptive manifestation of life's cycles, as Danticat's uncle enters his final days, her father is slowly silenced by lung disease, and she awaits the birth of her daughter. This meticulously crafted, deeply felt remembrance is a homage to one remarkable family, and all who persevere, seeking justice and channeling love."--"Seaman, Donna" Copyright 2007 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In a single day in 2004, Danticat (Breath, Eyes, Memory; The Farming of Bones) learns that she's pregnant and that her father, Andr, is dying-a stirring constellation of events that frames this Haitian immigrant family's story, rife with premature departures and painful silences. When Danticat was two, Andr left Haiti for the U.S., and her mother followed when Danticat was four. The author and her brother could not join their parents for eight years, during which Andr's brother Joseph raised them. When Danticat was nine, Joseph-a pastor and gifted orator-lost his voice to throat cancer, making their eventual separation that much harder, as he wouldn't be able to talk with the children on the phone. Both Andr and Joseph maintained a certain emotional distance through these transitions. Danticat writes of a Haitian adage, " `When you bathe other people's children, you should wash one side and leave the other side dirty.' I suppose this saying cautions those who care for other people's children not to give over their whole hearts." In the end, as Danticat prepares to lose her ailing father and give birth to her daughter, Joseph is threatened by a volatile sociopolitical clash and forced to flee Haiti. He's then detained by U.S. Customs and neglected for days. He unexpectedly dies a prisoner while loved ones await news of his release. Poignant and never sentimental, this elegant memoir recalls how a family adapted and reorganized itself over and over, enduring and succeeding to remain kindred in spite of living apart. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

The uncle who raised novelist Danticat until she could join her parents in America tried to come here himself in 2004. But he was detained by customs officials and died in prison. Unbelievably, this is nonfiction. With an eight-city tour. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by School Library Journal Review

Adult/High School-A family memoir, this book is sad, but it's a worthy and touching read. The author's parents moved from Haiti to New York in 1976, leaving the two eldest children in the care of an aunt and uncle until they earned enough money to relocate the entire family. Brother vividly describes the political unrest of Haiti in the 1970s and '80s, and Danticat details the various elections and upheavals. It is clear that the family must leave, but they maintain much affection for their home country. Their eventual immigration to the United States is difficult and near impossible for some, like Uncle Joseph, who at age 81 and suffering multiple health problems is treated like a political prisoner at the hands of immigration officials. While the book often shifts between various periods of the family history, Danticat narrates the story from 2005. Her father is dying, and their relationship holds the narrative together. While the birth of her daughter provides the author with hope, Brother may prove to be a little too grim for some teens. Others, however, will appreciate its realism.-Jennifer Waters, Red Deer Public Library, Alberta, Canada (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Edwidge Danticat was born in Haiti in 1969 and came to America at age twelve to live with her parents in Brooklyn. She studied French literature at Barnard College and received her M.F.A. from Brown University. Her work has achieved both popular and critical acclaim. Breath, Eyes, Memory (1994), her first novel and master's thesis, garnered Danticat a Granta Regional Award for Best Young American Novelist and was chosen as an Oprah Book Club selection, a singular honor. Her collection of short stories Krik? Krak! (1995) was nominated for the National Book Award.

Along with awards for fiction from Seventeen and Essence and the 1995 Pushcart Short Story Prize, Danticat was chosen by Harper's Bazaar as "one of 20 people in their twenties who will make a difference," and by the New York Times Magazine as one of "30 Under 30" people to watch.

Her second novel, The Farming of Bones (1998), concerns a massacre in Haiti in 1937.

(Bowker Author Biography)

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