Teri's Reviews > The Farming of Bones

The Farming of Bones by Edwidge Danticat
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Aug 08, 11

Read in August, 2011

I know about the tragic historical event that features prominently in this novel, so i am reading it with trepidation, gritting my teeth, as it were, because slaughter is always awful. Yet, when Danticat read from some of her work and spoke to us AP English readers in Louisville in June, i liked her so much as an individual, i wanted to read more of her work. Her writing is poetic, lively with Haitian patois and atmosphere and culture, more so in this novel than in some of her other work.

So far, i am about 1/3 into it.

I couldn't stop reading it last night till i finished at 3 am. Powerful stuff that stayed with me, including a nightmare and thoughts all day. Still thinking about it now. The tragic episodes were not the only painful parts. Lots more about the nature of change, inability to recover/adapt/move forward after trauma, the feelings of guilt for surviving when others did not, having only one life and knowing this but still being unable to maximize opportunity.

It is hard to write about this book and avoid spoilers. But it is poetically written and compelling.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Dagný (last edited Aug 09, 2011 02:18PM) (new)

Dagný Teri you are strong to read this. I wondered what on earth you were referring to, and, sure on earth, find one more terrible thing I'd never heard of.


Teri Because these events occurred in 1937, they seem to be part of what must have been a world-wide trend of genocide. Maybe this event got "lost" in history because of the other overwhelming horrors, like the Nazis.


Teri Ach! Dagny! I accidentally deleted your response! Can you repost it? I was trying to delete a repetition of my message 2.


message 4: by Dagný (last edited Aug 16, 2011 02:20AM) (new)

Dagný It has disappeared into the ether; no profound insight. But I do still feel that your students are very lucky to have a teacher with as wide a world view as you have.

I must confess my own ignorance about Haiti and whether there were ideological connections between the genocidal regime there and elsewhere.

I once wrote a thesis about an African book, "Bound to Violence" by Yambo Ouologuem- from Mali. His book, an anti-romaticization of the region, concerns the history of African internal violence from middle ages onward. (I wrote about it from a depth of ignorance about Africa, so at least I could get a bearing.) That region, like Haiti, is French speaking, the people in Haiti likely came from the region in Ouologuem's book. The images you refer to brought back images from Bound to Violence.
(Incidentally that book's post history is quite interesting, but as I wrote about it in the early seventies, when it had been recently published, I was pretty ignorant of the controversy, these were the pre-internet days.)


Teri Thanks, Dagny, for mentioning the book about Mali. I don't know much about Africa, but from friends (some are former students) working with the Department of Defense and State Department, I know it is the region where the US will be focused; for example, learning French is now a priority in those departments because the threats of terrorism in Africa are growing. I feel so sad that in 2011, the world still can't figure out how to quite fighting, to quit wasting money on weapons instead of medicine and books. The human race really hasn't advanced as much as we think we have, I suspect.


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