by Joseph Ross
Edwidge Danticat, is among the best fiction and non-fiction writers of English these days. Her novels about life in Haiti Krik Krak; Breath, Eyes, Memory; and The Farming of Bones create vivid stories of sympathetic characters undergoing remarkable sufferings. Her talent as a storyteller is wide and rich. More recently, she’s been writing non-fiction. Her 2010 book, Create Dangerously, which I was just given by a friend, invites other writers, indeed all artists, to bold, courageous work that bears witness to the inequalities and the suffering of so many across the globe. Danticat’s prose is fluid and story-like, even when describing historical or current events. Her tone contains a humility and gentleness that keeps her writing from sounding preachy or shrill. She urges us, as a sensitive and thoughtful writer.
Create Dangerously opens with a heartbreaking description of the 1964 execution, by the “Papa Doc” Duvalier regime, of Marcel Numa and, both activists against Duvalier’s brutality. She recounts their execution as a kind of “creation story” for her, as a Haitian who was largely raised, and now lives, in the United States. She recalls a video and photographs of their execution that serve as a seed event in her writing life, prompting her to write as an offering of witness.
She spends some time describing the difficulties of the “immigrant artist.” Clearly, she sees herself as a writer in-between countries. She is certainly Haitian in that many of her relatives are still there, the formation of her heart was there, even though she came to the United States as a 12 year-old child…
Read the full review at Edwidge Danticat’s “Create Dangerously” is a Gentle Manifesto for Artists | Joseph Ross.