Saturday, June 15, 2013

Review: In Darkness

This review is part of my #NerdPrintz challenge.

Title: In Darkness
Author: Nick Lake

Published: January 5th, 2012
Source: Library book

My summary:  The book starts out with Shorty, a Haitian boy, trapped under a pile of rubble after the hospital he was in collapsed in the big earthquake.  Shorty begins to think over the recent events in his life that led to him being here.  He lived in a slum run by two rival gangs and, like many young boys in those conditions, he became involved with the gang activity.  The author provides us with a gritty and sometimes very graphic picture of life in a slum.  As Shorty thinks back over his past, he starts to become aware of another presence and begins seeing things from a distant past.  The reader starts to hear the story of Touissant l'Overture, a leader of a slave rebellion in Haiti's past.  The story weaves in and out of each man's story and the reader gets a realistic picture of life in modern Haiti as well as a glimpse at Haiti's tumultuous past.

My Thoughts:  When I first started reading this book, I really had no idea what it was about.  I found myself drawn in from the very beginning as I imagined what it would be like to be trapped as Shorty is.   Then, as I continued to read, I quickly realized that this book was going to be one to savor and one that would teach me a lot about Haiti.  I had to look up the author to understand how he could know these things.  I found the author's page and felt much more sure that the portrayal of life in Haiti was accurate.  Visit the website about the book here for more information.  I was absolutely astonished by the beauty of the language in this book.  This author was able to describe scenes in such detail that I was able to perfectly imagine these scenarios even though I have never been in situations even remotely similar.  I also enjoyed the magical elements in the story.  The way in which the stories of these two characters were connected was brilliant.

You can get a taste of the writing in the very first passage of the book:

"I am the voice in the dark, calling out for your help.  I am the quiet voice that you hope will not turn to silence, the voice you want to keep hearing cos it means someone is still alive.  I am the voice calling for you to come and dig me out. I am the voice in the dark, asking you to unbury me, to bring me from the grave out into the light, like a zombi.
   I am a killer and I have been killed, too, over and over; I am constantly being born.  I have lost more things than I have found; I have destroyed more things than I have built. I have seen babies abandoned in the trash and I have seen the dead come back to life. 
    I first shot a man when I was twelve years old. 
   I have no name.  There are no names in the darkness cos there is no one else, only me, and I already know who I am (I am the voice in the dark, calling out for your help), and I have no questions for myself and no need to call upon myself for anything, except to remember."  

Take a look at what the author has to say about the book here:

I would highly recommend this book to adults and teenagers.  I would say that this one is grade 8 and up because some of the scenes are quite graphic and there is language and violence in the book.  I think it is a book that all teens should read.

5 out of 5 Stars

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