Sunday, September 2, 2007

And now I know a little bit about the Parsley Massacre.

I am sick.

So instead of going out to meet up with friends like I had planned to, I stayed in today. Watched Blood Diamond on DVD and then finished up The Farming of Bones. It was coincidence, but two stories back to back, about countries and cultures torn apart by massacre... it really plays off each other.

It is really hard for me to put into words my reaction to The Farming of Bones. Of the three novels of hers that I've read, I have to say this is my favorite. It is completely heartbreaking, in a way that makes you want to fall into the soft folds of your blankets and never wake up again. The depiction of tragedy, of violence, of tenacious memory, of sorrow and regret, of aching loneliness in an unjust world.... Her words just swallow me up and wrap me tightly, make me feel bruised from want all over.

The story takes place during the Parsley Massacre of Haitians in the Dominican Republic, following a young woman who has spent nearly her entire life in the service of a wealthy Dominican family. More than that, I can't say, except that it breaks your heart, because even if you trust she will survive, you know that around her, many more won't, and as history dictates, there's only one way this can end. The pain is not in the violence, but in the living through, the living after, the living beyond when you've seen so much death around you. The pain is in the backward-looking, the memories that must be remembered but can never really be understood.

Books like this make me realize how little I know about the world beyond what I've been taught and told. I'm the kind of nerd who reads a book or watches a movie and then feels compelled to Wikipedia the subject immediately afterwards. These kind of important stories need to be told. This is when I look at the role of a writer, and think how much can be done. Because even if you are writing fiction, you're telling the world a truth. A beautifully sad but necessary truth.

Wow. Is all I can say. If I haven't said it enough, I love Edwidge Danticat.

2 drops:

writtenwyrdd said...

I have a difficult time reading such depressing topics. Yes, they need to be told. But I personally don't handle them well. Stressful, and I don't like stress. I don't even watch the news because I don't like dealing with that stress.

angelle said...

maybe i'm a masochist but i love depressing books, as long as they're rendered thoughtfully and beautifully.

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