It’s August! The nights are getting cooler, the fireflies are receding, and we’re (almost) ready to head back to school. It’s the perfect time to relax with a great book before all the busyness and excitement of fall. Whether you want to learn something new or discover more about your favorite subject, Team APJ‘s got you covered. Savor the last days of summer by the ocean with these six handpicked selections from Haiti on art, politics, mystery, love, and creativity. Pack your books and step into the new season:
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The Kingdom of this World
by Alejo Carpentier

Cuban author Alejo Carpentier’s fantastical take on historical fiction explores life in Haiti before, during, and after the 1804 revolution from French colonial rule. Told through the eyes of an old slave named Ti-Noel, this book exposes the cyclical and absurd nature of tyranny under Haiti’s self-appointed King Henri-Christophe.

Chosen by David Belle


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Love, Anger, Madness:
A Haitian Trilogy

by Marie Vieux-Chauvet

Originally banned in Haiti and finally published in France in 2005, Vieux-Chauvet’s novellas follow the lives of three women who struggle to survive under an oppressive regime in Haiti. No one can be trusted. Navigating gender, military, and artistic oppression, each woman’s desperate fight for freedom is evocative and haunting.

Chosen by Valerie Boucard


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In Extremis:
Death and Life in 21st-Century Haitian Art

by Donald J. Consentino

A collection of 34 remarkable Haitian artists whose unflinching work confronts the frustrating realities of reconstruction after the 2010 earthquake. This book explores the somewhat counter-intuitive connection between social collapse and artistic boom during Haiti’s 21st century.

Chosen by Caitlin Deibel


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Create Dangerously:
The Immigrant Artist at Work

by Edwidge Danticat

An eloquent call to action and collection of essays on art, exile, and humanitarian duty. Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat reflects on the responsibility of Haitian Diasporic artists to create dangerously and boldly give voice to those who have been silenced in violence, censorship, and poverty.

Chosen by Jeanelle Augustin


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The Uses of Haiti
by Paul Farmer

 A socio-political, medical, and historical synthesis of centuries of American intervention in Haiti that is troubling in its acuity. Physician, anthropologist, and Partners in Heath founder Paul Farmer exposes how foreign corruption disrupts all aspects of the daily lives of Haitian peasants who deserve dignity and justice.

Chosen by Kathryn Everett


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Masters of the Dew
by Jacques Romain

A moving political fable detailing the tragic life of peasant and prodigal son Manuel who returns from Cuba to find his village in Haiti ravaged by drought, inter-generational conflict, and prejudice. A fascinating comment on emerging post-colonial class consciousness, Manuel attempts to bring water, empathy, and solidarity to his barren community.

Chosen by Matthew Cherchio