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God Loves Haiti: A Novel

3.55  ·  Rating Details ·  262 Ratings  ·  59 Reviews
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 l
ebook, 262 pages
Published January 6th 2015 by Amistad
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May 16, 2015 Andre rated it really liked it
This could have been a 5 star review, if not for the hasty ending. The initial inclination is to question the title, how can God love Haiti given their history.

The priest states: "the earthquake was the latest sign that God loves Haiti. He loves you. Of course God loves Haitians. Why else would He encourage us to keep our faces pressed against the windows of great American and European wealth and grandeur, so close yet cruelly far, like a nation of Holly Golightlys? Why else would He chin-check
Feb 22, 2015 Tripfiction rated it really liked it
Novel set in Haiti (a bit of goudou goudou)

The pall and detritus hang thick over Port au Prince, where the earthquake of January 2010 has decimated the city and its people. Well over 100,000 people died and the aftershocks continued for quite some time “…death was so spectacularly random and massive…”

Léger is hugely adept at capturing the mood, fear and the feel of such a cataclysmic event – the UN peacekeepers pour in, the planes hover overhead, the dust floats around and settles and then spira
Mar 08, 2015 Yanira rated it it was ok
This book was just okay. Maybe I expected too much. I wanted it to be less cliche and more literary. The love triangle felt odd. Sure some parts were great and complex, but the plot was not believable.
Thoughts coming shortly
This is an impressive debut
Oct 05, 2016 Alesa rated it it was amazing
How could a book about the terrible earthquake in Haiti be luminous? Especially if its themes are political corruption, betrayal, and the sad fate of the arts in a poor country? Well, this novel is. I couldn't stop reading it. It's a fascinating look into both Haitian culture, and the human heart, with all of their idiosynchrasies and confusion.

"Haitian women and their steel decisiveness mystified me like no other in much the same way they mystified my father... We men, we debate. Women, they ac
Anne Goodwin
Jan 22, 2015 Anne Goodwin rated it really liked it
Shelves: debut-novelists
The Haitian earthquake of 2010 makes an unusual setting for a romantic comedy, but this novel manages to beautifully balance the devastating impact of the unexpected seismic event alongside celebrating bonds of affection and the resilience of the human spirit. A love triangle between twenty-year-old artist Natasha Robert; her new husband, the president, forty years her senior; and Alain, the lover she has abandoned in the hope of escaping the confines of her native country. The novel opens with ...more
Samuel Van
Aug 03, 2015 Samuel Van rated it did not like it
Terribly cheesy story about the quake. Really a very bad attempt at a novel. Often reads like children’s literature – which I suppose it might well be if it weren’t for the intertextual instances which are especially lost on young adults and children. Some bits were good, but mostly this can’t be called a novel because it lacks sophistication, depth, character development, realism, originality, and so forth. Such a shame.
Kayle Barnes
I'm torn. I loved Léger's writing. His prose is lovely and really allows you to focus on the characters as humans and not just victims of the 2010 Haitian earthquake or goudou-goudou. I also liked that he addresses international politics and Haitian history in pithy sentences without it feeling forced. I didn't like the ending as it's not what I wanted to have happen, but what happens is fitting and good for all the characters. I think.
Jan 11, 2015 Monika rated it really liked it
A stunning reading experience that leaves you feeling devastated, hopeful, and conflicted in that gut-wrenching, introspective "I need to think about this more deeply" kind of way. Read my full review at A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall.
Jan 18, 2015 Gloria rated it really liked it
Shelves: readharder2015
A novel about the 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti might sound depressing, but this one isn't. Instead, it is funny, sad, touching, and uplifting. #ReadHarder #AuthorOfOppositeGender
Molly O'keefe
Sep 04, 2016 Molly O'keefe is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
so far this is pretty freaking amazing!
Dec 04, 2016 Esther rated it liked it
Shelves: e-book
This novel, set in Haiti during the 2010 earthquake (which struck disaster by surprise, in comparison to the damages brought on regularly by hurricanes) mixes a good portion of love and its drawbacks with politics, corruption and Western influence on this country.
The author is attempting at a lot, and maybe at too much.

While I enjoyed the writing, learning some facts about this interesting country and its history (while being in the Caribbean on vacation!), and the very different backgrounds an
Nov 10, 2016 Vee rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, français, 2016
God love Haiti.
Don't worry, God loves the United States of America too because all nations matter.

This is funny novel that takes jabs at Haiti, American, past Haitian presidents, Hollywood, the President of the U.S., the Dominican Republic. Politics aside, this is a love triangle with the 2010 earthquake - goudou goudou serving as the background. The earthquake in Haiti is a tragic joke within itself. Really a freaking earthquake in Haiti? It still sounds ridiculous. Note, there are very small p
Oct 04, 2016 Gillik rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, fiction
Just as the president of Haiti is about to flee his country on America's orders, just as his new wife is regretting having abandoned her true love, just as that true love is trying to escape the closet she's locked him in: just then, an earthquake hits and hundreds of thousands die.

And yet this is a surprisingly cheery book.

Its characters are full of light and prayer even as they're also reeling from an unthinkable disaster and countless dead. (Natasha, the president's wife, thinks in the immed
Christa  Seeley
Mar 13, 2015 Christa Seeley rated it liked it
Shelves: genre-literary, 2015
This review originally appears on More Than Just Magic

In 2010 a massive earthquake destroyed Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. In only thirty-five seconds 200,000 people died and more than a million were left homeless. It’s impossible to forget those early days after the earthquake – it dominated the news. Now, a few years later, we don’t hear as much about it. Which is why when I first heard about Dimitry Elias Léger’s novel, about the days following the earthquake, I knew I had to read it.
Jan 05, 2015 Sarah-Hope rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
Dimitry Elias Léger’s God Loves Haiti is a surprising and engaging read. Set in Port-au-Prince during and in the days immediately following the Haitian earthquake, the book focuses on a group of fictional characters who hold what are real positions in Haitian politics (President, ex-President, First Lady, and a young political activist). This leads to a certain amount of speculation. To what extent is the novel a general commentary on the nature of Haitian politics and society? To what extent is ...more
Barbara Rhine
Apr 08, 2016 Barbara Rhine rated it really liked it
I liked this book better than I expected to. Set in Port au Prince during and after the 2010 earthquake, the author focuses on a romantic triangle that involves the President of Haiti, his newly-wed wife and her lover. For those of us acquainted enough with Haitian politics to remember who the President was at that time (Préval), and who his priestly predecessor was (Aristide), the choice of characters is disconcerting. Both are given other names, of course, yet it is clear who they are. And the ...more
Feb 09, 2015 Byron rated it it was amazing
Tragic though it was, I hadn't seen any books, movies and what have you based on the earthquake that hit Haiti in early 2K10. You can probably guess why that was. (Come to think of it, I guess there was that chapter in Infinite Crab Meats on Wyclef's fake charity.) Thankfully, there's now this book. God Loves Haiti is a deeply touching (nullus) and surprisingly amusing story about a love triangle set in the immediate aftermath of the quake.

The first lady, a young artist, is about to bolt the isl
Jim Krotzman
Mar 01, 2016 Jim Krotzman rated it really liked it
I liked this novel. It takes place in Haiti after the earthquake of 2010. Port au Prince is in turmoil. The people don't know where their loved ones are. Before the earthquake Alain and Natasha were in love, but she married the president of Haiti to get ahead, to make a rich life for herself. When the earthquake hit, the President was preparing to abdicate and take his new bride to to Italy to live.
Some of my favorite quotations from the novel:
“We live. We suffer. We die. Prematurely. Suddenly.
Leger has put forth and impressive debut novel. His pros is nicely done and engaging. Leger loves Haiti and sprinkles the book with wonderful descriptions of the land and its people. The major philosophical question posed, that is God’s love or rejection of Haiti, is appropriate and interesting. The plot centers around the utter devastation of Haiti, but Legar manages to lighten the novel with a quirky, ironic love triangle.

I really enjoyed this book. I would have easily given it 4 stars but (vi
Jen Fries
Mar 19, 2015 Jen Fries rated it really liked it
This is a debut novel from a journalist, and it used the conceit of rewriting the President and first lady of Haiti to suit the narrative. Préval is never named, just called "the President", and his wife - the woman at the heart of a love triangle - doesn't seem to be based on the actual first lady. So, taking that as it is, this novel is both urgent and lyrical. It is set in the immediate aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, and it has dark comedic moments where the tragedy is cast as both an act ...more
May 03, 2015 Katherine rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
*3.5 stars.
“She stared at the tips of the fingers on the golden statue of big hands holding a globe in the wan morning sun. The fingers were rotten with rust” (15).
“Tomorrow will be a better day. It has no choice” (24).
“They wore khaki pants, preposterous can-do attitudes, and shirts featuring large red crosses” (40).
“...somewhere around the park or in the rubbled city beyond it” (43).
“If prostitution is the oldest profession, telecommunications is the newest profession” (112).
“Over there they h
Ever since reading “Mountains Beyond Mountains” I have wanted to know more about Haiti. This is the fourth book I have read recently about the country, and the first novel. It was the only one of the four books I read that was by a Haitian and the only novel. It was a really lovely novel and gave me a first-person view of what it was like during the immediate aftermath of the 2010 earthquake. Having survived a similar earthquake myself (1985 Chile—about as strong but with much less loss of human ...more
Karen Ashmore
Feb 12, 2015 Karen Ashmore rated it really liked it
Lèger’s description of the earthquake was not written in the journalistic style of Jonathan Katz in depicting its physical destruction nor does he write with the dreamy sensual quality of Edwidge Danticat. Instead his style is a happy medium describing the physical casualties as well as what the survivors were feeling and sensing. The story had an interesting triangulated plot surrounding the President and the First Lady and her lover that I at first found confusing as it wandered back and forth ...more
Mar 19, 2016 Peggy rated it it was amazing
Debut novel, based on fact (the devastating earthquake in Haiti; the names of the past presidents; events after the quake; geographical accuracy), this story of the star-crossed lives of 3 people (the president, his wife, and her lover) is followed in minute detail.
The whole story leads up to the central issue: will Natasha stay with her husband or seek out/find/reunite w her lover. The answer is unexpected.
Exquisite writing with many moments of levity, probably mirroring the attitude of the Hai
Mar 02, 2015 kasia rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. I wish that Léger had a better editor. There's a lot to love about this debut novel: the characters are complex and believable and the prose is filled with warmth and humor. Particularly impressive is the portrayal of the cataclysmic, devastating catastrophe of the earthquake. That kind of history can often feel like costumery and dramatic backdrop for a love story: here it is more like the inverse, where the romance fades out as the collective tragedy demands attention. The book is ...more
World Literature Today
"In his debut novel, 'God Loves Haiti', Dimitry Elias Léger uses the 2010 earthquake in Haiti as the backdrop for a love triangle. . . As the three trudge through the aftermath of the quake looking for each other, each finds a different relationship with God while attempting to understand Haiti’s propensity for disaster and its tenacity in recovering. . . The three come to terms with the trauma they face and the despair that surrounds them in a novel that offers the reader a true-seeming ...more
Julie Akemann
I thought the author perfectly captured the voice of the Haitian people during and after goudou-goudou (Haiti’s 2010 earthquake). The 3 narrators offered very unique, honest, and raw perspectives of Haiti. However, when I got to the end of the novel, I found myself saying out loud “seriously?!?” The ending was a total 180 from the direction of the story. I would read other novels by this author, because his eloquent, insightful, and humorous prose left me wanting more – just not more of the ...more
Pam Mooney
Mar 12, 2016 Pam Mooney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Now I love Haiti! Leger writes with such heart I want him to be my neighbor. This story is so beautifully written that you can feel the soul of the Haitian community it is set in. The characters were believable and so compassionately flawed that you had to empathize with their plight. The supporting characters are wonderfully played out to really bring out the full depth of the experience. As much as I enjoyed the story the back drop of the Haiti earthquake had me running to read more and do my ...more
Mar 26, 2016 Kimberly rated it liked it
This book was 3.5 stars for me (when is goodreads going to make it possible to give half star ratings?). The writing was beautiful, it conjured up images of Haiti post earthquake that while saddened me, also gave me hope. I appreciated the peek inside of the politics surrounding a disaster as well. However, I did not care for the ending which kept me from giving the book 4 stars. I don't actually know what I wanted to happen but it definitely was not what occurred. I would definitely read ...more
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Dimitry Elias Léger was born in 1971 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and raised in both Port-au-Prince and New York City. Educated at St. John’s University and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, he has worked as a journalist and a humanitarian. He has been a staff editor and writer at prominent news outlets like Fortune magazine, The Miami Herald, and The Source magazine, the seminal hip-hop music ...more
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