Calling all single ladies and social recluses planning to spend the 14th feasting their feelings on sugary comfort foods before revisiting The Notebook. This Valentine’s Day cry your eyes out to Edwidge Danticat’s compelling love story set against the backdrop of a few heart-wrenching real life events, think Pearl Harbor but without the historical inaccuracies. Ill-fated couple: Amabelle and Sebastien embody a romance that avoids the over-rehearsed speeches, tacky gifts, and trifling arguments that are customarily chosen by fictional tales to reinforce materialist holidays. Instead they work tiresome and long hours for little pay, but the time they do spend together has a sacred authenticity that you will fall in love with.
Danticat’s The Farming of Bones retells an unfathomable yet historic moment of crisis through an ordinary romantic relationship set in the island of Hispaniola. The protagonist Amabelle is a mere Haitian maid working for a typical wealthy family in the Dominican Republic. Her boyfriend is one of many workers who toil in the sugar cane fields – the most important industry in the Dominican economy. The couple and other characters have learnt to live with the displeasure that the natives have for them and their kind, yet one day these hostilities turn into a full scale conflict. In a project of ethnic cleansing now known as the 1937 Parsley Massacre Amabelle and Sebastien are forced to flee from the country. At first there is no doubt that the infinite power of their love can overcome anything and they establish a meeting place wherein they intend to begin their journey back to Haiti. Here the novel gains pace as Sebastian and Amabelle are separated before the challenge has been even begun.
This book is made for the romantics who crave action but simultaneously thirst for a solid heroine, with an extensive arc of character-development which they can sink their teeth into. It’s for those who want to lapse into literary somnambulism in the protective arms of the classically brave Sebastien, and get lost in the lovers’ struggle to find home again.