Showing posts with label Haiti. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Haiti. Show all posts

Friday, May 08, 2015

#FridayReads: Sofrito by Phillippe Diederich

Sofrito by Phillippe Diederich:

A Cuban-American travels to Havana searching for a secret recipe where he finds love and the truth about his father.


"In this entertaining debut novel, Frank Delgado tries to save his failing restaurant by returning to Cuba, his dead father's homeland, to get ahold of a top-secret chicken recipe. But there is more than delicious chicken at stake here. Food is the road home-geographically, emotionally, metaphorically. Peppered with cooking advice from chefs, ordinary folks, and celebrities including Fidel Castro himself (an advocate of pork), Phillipe Diederich's Sofrito is a love letter to the deepest recesses of nostalgia's heart."-Cristina Garcia, author of Dreaming in Cuban and King of Cuba

Frank Delgado is no thief. He co-owns a failing Cuban restaurant in Manhattan's Upper East Side. The restaurant, like Frank, is rudderless. Lost. He decides he'll save the restaurant by traveling to Cuba to steal the legendary chicken recipe from the famed El Ajillo restaurant in Havana. The recipe is a state secret, so prized that no cook knows the whole recipe. But Frank's rationale is ironclad-Fidel stole the secret from his family, so he will steal it back. He will triumphantly bring that recipe back to Manhattan and turn his fortunes around.

Frank has no interest in Cuba. His parents fled after the Revolution. His dead father spent his life erasing all traces of Cuba from his heart with barbeques, television, lawn mowing and alcohol. So Frank is not prepared for the real Cuba. Sure, he gets beat up and almost killed, the secret service threatens him, but in the midst of the chaos, he falls in love with a prostitute and the city, and he unwraps the heroic story of his parents' life. Cuba begins to bind Frank together, the way a good sofrito binds the flavors of a Cuban dish.

Phillippe Diederich is a Haitian-American writer. Born in the Dominican Republic, he was raised in Mexico City and Miami. His parents were kicked out of Haiti by the dictatorship of Papa Doc Duvalier in 1963. He spent his youth listening to his parents and friends talking politics and nostalgically dreaming of the day they would return to Haiti. In 1980, the family moved to Miami, where they joined a community of exiles from all parts of Latin America-Cuba, Chile, Argentina, Nicaragua, El Salvador. Like other children of exiles, Diederich grew up without his relatives-grandparents, cousins, uncles, aunts.

Diederich traveled repeatedly to Cuba as a photojournalist throughout the 1990s. He has an MFA in creative writing from the University of South Florida and lives in Florida. This is his first novel.

Friday, February 06, 2015

#FridayReads: God Loves Haiti by Dimitry Elias Léger

A luminous debut . . . Léger writes beautifully and with an immense humanity. Perhaps one of the finest Caribbean novels I’ve read in years and it is a testament to Léger’s extraordinary talents that in this incisive chronicle of failing lovers he never loses sight of his true subject—Haiti—which he renders in all of its stupendous beautiful tortured complexity. A stand-out novel.”—Junot Diaz

A native of Haiti, Dimitry Elias Léger makes his remarkable debut with this story of romance, politics, and religion that traces the fates of three lovers in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and the challenges they face readjusting to life after an earthquake devastates their city. 

Reflecting the chaos of disaster and its aftermath, God Loves Haiti switches between time periods and locations, yet always moves closer to solving the driving mystery at its center: Will the artist Natasha Robert reunite with her one true love, the injured Alain Destiné, and live happily ever after? Warm and constantly surprising, told in the incandescent style of José Saramago and Roberto Bolaño, and reminiscent of Gabriel García Márquez’s hauntingly beautiful Love In The Time of Cholera, God Loves Haiti is an homage to a lost time and city, and the people who embody it.



Dimitry Elias Léger was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and raised there and in Brooklyn. Educated at St. John’s University and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, he has worked as an advisor to United Nations agencies. He has also been a staff writer at Fortune, the Miami Herald, and The Source Magazine, and his work has appeared in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, and Newsweek, and other publications. He lives in Brooklyn and near Evian, France.

Friday, July 04, 2014

#FridayReads: The Feast of San Sebastian By Jonathan Marcantoni

Have you read The Feast of San Sebastian By Jonathan Marcantoni? It's a "raw, gritty and frightening socio-political thriller set in the island paradise of Puerto Rico," according to reviews that debuted last year:

Two Haitians are smuggled into Puerto Rico with promises of work and a better future, but are instead forced into slave labor at an American factory. Ilan is a middleman on the black market whose guilty conscience has led to alcoholism and gambling debts to the biggest crime boss in Puerto Rico. These three men's lives will collide when Ilan is forced to pay his debt by arranging for the assassination of the corrupt Superintendent of Police. 

What follows is an examination of the decadence and injustice of a colonial society on the brink of self-destruction.



Jonathan Marcantoni is the author of Traveler’s Rest and Communion (with Jean Blasiar), both published by Savant Books and Publications. He has been a freelance writer and editor since 2004. His family is from Utuado and Fajardo, Puerto Rico. He currently lives in San Antonio, TX with his wife and three daughters.

Author Jonathan Marcantoni
His intention with this book is to educate, and hopefully, to create action in its readers. The problems facing Puerto Rico can be remedied, but only if we work together as a people to make a better future for our families and for our country.

This book was inspired by the study “Trafficking of Persons in Puerto Rico: An Invisible Challenge” by César A. Rey Hernández, Ph.D. and Luisa Hernández Angueira, Ph.D. The crimes and criminal syndicates depicted in the book are based on cases described in that study and in articles published in the newspaper El Nuevo Día and reported by Wapa TV. 

The raids on slum communities, including La Perla, occurred between 2009 and 2011, with the raid on La Perla leading to the resignation of then-Superintendent of Police José Figueroa Sancha, who is the basis for the Superintendent in the book.
 
The yola operation that brings the Haitians over still exists and has grown rather than decreased over the last several years. It should be understood that the immigrants who come to Puerto Rico do so largely to go to the United States, making Puerto Rico a transit state for illegal immigrants, and in turn, for smugglers. 

Puerto Rico’s human trafficking problem is in direct relation with its relationship to the United States, and not because life there is any better than the immigrant’s homeland. While Dominicans make up the majority of immigrants who use the Canal de Mona to travel to Puerto Rico, there are also large numbers of Haitians, Chinese and Cuban immigrants who use the route as well.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

#NonfictionNovember – 8 Recommended (Fiction & Nonfiction) Book Pairings

I found this challenge over at Regularrumination to find pairings for nonfiction with its complimentary fiction reads pretty interesting. Here are my recommendations:

Pairing 1:
In the Time of the Butterflies
 (Photo: Wikipedia)
In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
with
The Last Playboy: The High Life of Porfirio Rubirosa by Shawn Levy

Pairing 2:
When I Was Puerto Rican: A Memoir by Esmeralda Santiago
with
If I Bring You Roses by Marisel Vera

Pairing 3:
Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies by Laura Esquivel
with
The Daughters of Juarez: A True Story of Serial Murder South of the Border by Teresa Rodriguez, Diana Montané and Lisa Pulitzer

Pairing 4:
Krik? Krak! by Edwidge Danticat
with
Haiti: The Tumultuous History - From Pearl of the Caribbean to Broken Nation by Philippe Girard

Pairing 5:
We The Animals by Justin Torres
with
For All of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet's Journey by Richard Blanco

Cover of "Cherries in Winter: My Family's...
Cover via Amazon
Pairing 6:
Cherries in Winter: My Family's Recipe for Hope in Hard Times by Suzan Colon
with
The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico: A Novel by Sarah McCoy

Pairing 7: 
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
with
Down These Mean Streets by Piri Thomas

Pairing 8:
The Scent of Lemon Leaves by Clara Sanchez and Julie Wark
with
The Real Odessa: Smuggling the Nazis to Peron's Argentina by Uki Goni

Pairing 9:
The Woman in Battle: The Civil War Narrative of Loreta Janeta Velazquez, Cuban Woman and Confederate Soldier by Loreta Janeta Velazquez
with
Ines of My Soul: A Novel by Isabel Allende

Friday, August 23, 2013

#FridayReads: Claire of the Sea Light By Edwidge Danticat

Edwidge Danticat by David Shankbone
Edwidge Danticat by David Shankbone (Photo: Wikipedia)
She needs no introduction - put it on your must-read:


From the best-selling author of Breath, Eyes, Memory and Krik? Krak!, a stunning new work of fiction that brings us deep into the intertwined lives of a small town where a little girl, the daughter of a fisherman, has gone missing.

Claire Limyè Lanmè--Claire of the Sea Light--is an enchanting child born into love and tragedy in a seaside town in Haiti. Claire's mother died in childbirth, and on each of her birthdays Claire is taken by her father, Nozias, to visit her mother's grave. Nozias wonders if he should give away his young daughter to a local shopkeeper who lost a child of her own, so he can give her a better life. But on the night of Claire's seventh birthday, when he makes the wrenching decision to do so, she disappears. 

As Nozias and others look for her, painful secrets and startling truths are unearthed among a host of men and women whose stories connect to Claire, her parents, and the town itself. Told with the piercing lyricism and economy of a fable, Claire of the Sea Light explores what it means to be a parent, child, neighbor, lover, and friend, while indelibly revealing the mysterious connections we share with the natural world and with one another, amid the magic and heartbreak of ordinary life. 

EDWIDGE DANTICAT is the author of numerous books, including Brother, I'm Dying, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was a National Book Award finalist; Breath, Eyes, Memory, an Oprah Book Club selection; Krik? Krak!, a National Book Award finalist; The Farming of Bones, an American Book Award winner; and The Dew Breaker, a PEN/Faulkner Award finalist and winner of the inaugural Story Prize. The recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, she has been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and elsewhere.

 
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