"Create dangerously, for people who read dangerously. This is what I've always thought it meant to be a writer. Writing, knowing in part that no matter how trivial your words may seem, someday, somewhere, someone may risk his or her life to read them."-- Create Dangerously
In this deeply personal book, the celebrated Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat reflects on art and exile, examining what it means to be an immigrant artist from a country in crisis.Read more...
"Create dangerously, for people who read dangerously. This is what I've always thought it meant to be a writer. Writing, knowing in part that no matter how trivial your words may seem, someday, somewhere, someone may risk his or her life to read them."--Create Dangerously
In this deeply personal book, the celebrated Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat reflects on art and exile, examining what it means to be an immigrant artist from a country in crisis. Inspired by Albert Camus' lecture, "Create Dangerously," and combining memoir and essay, Danticat tells the stories of artists, including herself, who create despite, or because of, the horrors that drove them from their homelands and that continue to haunt them. Danticat eulogizes an aunt who guarded her family's homestead in the Haitian countryside, a cousin who died of AIDS while living in Miami as an undocumented alien, and a renowned Haitian radio journalist whose political assassination shocked the world. Danticat writes about the Haitian novelists she first read as a girl at the Brooklyn Public Library, a woman mutilated in a machete attack who became a public witness against torture, and the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat and other artists of Haitian descent. Danticat also suggests that the aftermaths of natural disasters in Haiti and the United States reveal that the countries are not as different as many Americans might like to believe.
Create Dangerously is an eloquent and moving expression of Danticat's belief that immigrant artists are obliged to bear witness when their countries of origin are suffering from violence, oppression, poverty, and tragedy.
- ISBN-13: 9780691140186
- ISBN-10: 0691140189
- Publisher: Princeton University Press
- Publish Date: August 2010
- Page Count: 189
Series: Toni Morrison Lecture
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2010-08-30
- Reviewer: Staff
“In order to shield our shattered collective psyche from a long history of setbacks and disillusionment... we cultivate communal and historical amnesia...,” writes novelist Danticat in this lean collection of jaw-breaking horrors side by side with luminous insights. This volume, which grows out of the Toni Morrison lecture series at Princeton, is uneven and inorganic in patches. But in Danticat’s many remarkable stories and pensées from the gut, one locates the inimitable power of truth. Authorship becomes an act of subversion when one’s words might be read and acted on by someone risking his or her life if only to read them. Danticat reminds us that, in a cruel twist of fate, her native Haiti, earthquake-and-poverty-torn, gained independence, in a bloody slave uprising, not long after the U.S. did: our ties, usually unexamined, run painfully deep. Whether eulogizing her family, writing on leading journalist Jean Dominique’s assassination and exiled author Marie Vieux-Chauvet, or discussing “Madison Avenue Primitive” Jean-Michel Basquiat, Danticat documents what it means for an immigrant writer to create dangerously for immigrant readers who read dangerously, awakened and no longer participants in a culture of “historical amnesia.” (Oct.)