for The Farming of Bones by Edwidge Danticat
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 Senora'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 Desir 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 Senora'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 Alegria 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.