In 1960s Haiti, the oppressive regime of François Duvalier, also known as Papa Doc, is breaking the spirit of the people in two. Fearful to go out, dealing with widespread curfews, and always wary of the Tonton Macoutes, a secret police known for their brutal tactics, Haitians must constantly keep one eye over their shoulders. All this is affecting the taxi business of Raymond L'Eveillé, which is the largest of his concerns until a journalist and his family being hunted by the Tonton Macoutes plead for safe passage. Raymond's brother Nicolas, a well-off attorney who does not need to worry about the hardships of Haitian life is also being tangled in Papa Doc's web as well, as he has prepared a manuscript detailing the corruption and murder of his rule, intending to publish it abroad and topple the regime.
Powerfully human, this book details the struggles of family under the most trying of circumstances. Painting a picture of a cruel dictatorship, the duress of the people under it, and how they will do anything to be free, many of the details of this book can be graphically violent or disturbing, particularly what takes place in the fortress Fort Dimanche. These details are not excessive though, and they need to be faced in order to understand just what the people of Haiti were in fear of and suffering from during this time period which is really not so long ago. The narrative is magnetic, the characters are so vivid and lifelike, and the pacing is constant with fear, doubt, and heartbreak. Readers who can handle the stress and brutality of a story like this will be absolutely enthralled until the very end.
RECOMMENDED by the US Review