Edwidge Danticat is quite the celebrated author, however, I had heard of her work through a quote about immigrants and art that has been floating around Tumblr for some time.
Haitian-born Danticat’s Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work is a collection of deeply personal essays that all tie back to the theme of being an immigrant artist as the title tells you.
I’m always a bit weary of a book like this that features writing that was previously published elsewhere, but this book is a fresh take. She is an amazing writer and the stories she tells (my favorites are one about visiting her Aunt in Haiti where she is called a journalist, one about the murder of a popular Haitian radio host and another of a woman who was nearly beat to death but survived to tell her story) are touching and beautiful in their tragedy. As a child of immigrants, it also very relate able to me. It is also eye-opening for those who may not know as much about Haiti and it’s past.
I feel I can’t do this book justice in “reviewing” it or writing about it. So I will leave you with my favorite quote:
This is the America that continues to startle, the America of the cabins and not castles, the America of the needy and never have enoughs, the America of the undocumented, the unemployed, the elderly, and the infirm. An America that remains invisible until a rebellion breaks out, gunshots ring out, or a flood rages through. Perhaps this America does have more in common with the developing world than the one it inhabits. For the poor everywhere dwell within their own country, where more often than not they must fend for themselves. That’s why one can so easily become a refugee within one’s own borders because one’s perceived usefulness and precarious citizenship is always in question in that other America, the one where people have flood insurance.