Review Blog

Feb 02 2012

In Darkness by Nick Lake

cover image

Bloomsbury, 2012. ISBN 13579108642.
(Age: 15+) Recommended. Shorty is a teenage gangster from the violent slums of Site Soley where survival is a daily challenge. Now he lies trapped beneath the rubble of a hospital following the Haitian earthquake, afraid that he will be entombed forever. Alone in the darkness Shorty reflects upon the events in his life that have shaped his destiny.  His wandering mind becomes possessed by the thoughts of Toussaint L'Ouverture, the Haitian rebel who forced the French out of Haiti two hundred years ago. Both of them seek freedom but it will take strength and the courage of self belief to achieve it.
This is a story of two Haitis, the past and the present, compellingly intertwined. The political history of Haiti and its battle to be free from colonial power runs parallel to the story of modern Haiti. The slums, gang warfare and violence are a reality of day to day existence and evoke the passion to be free from oppression. L'Oeuverture channels this passion through Shorty.
This is an excellent book for the sophisticated reader. The author is able to tell the story of Haiti's history in an exciting and innovative way. It is a very satisfying page turner and the two stories of past and present are equally gripping and informative.
Tina Cain

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