When she was four, Edwidge Danticat’s mother left Haiti to join her father who had gone to New York two years earlier, leaving her and her younger brother, Bob, in the care of her father’s brother, Joseph. Edwidge came to think of her uncle Joseph as a second father because he treated her with such tenderness and because, as a minister, “he knew all the verses for love.”
When she was twelve, Edwidge finally joined her parents in Brooklyn. As she made a life in a new country, adjusting to being far away from so many who she loved, her uncle was absorbing the challenges of life in Haiti as its political situation deteriorated and violent gangs gained in power.
The story Danticat tells is often disturbing as the people she loves are exposed to misfortune, injustice, and violence, but ultimately, Brother, I’m Dying is reassuring in its expression of deep familial love and enduring bonds. An astonishing true-life epic, told on an intimate scale by one of our finest writers.