The Return

The Return

Book - 2011
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From the Prix Medicis winner comes a haunting meditation on the nature of identity.

Dany Laferriere 's most celebrated book since How to Make Love to a Negro, The Return is a bestseller in France and Quebec and the winner of many awards, including the prestigious Prix Medicis and the Grand Prix du livre de Montreal.

At age 23, the narrator, Dany, hurriedly left behind the stifling heat of Port-au-Prince for the unending winter of Montreal. It was 1976, and Baby Doc Duvalier's regime had just killed one of his journalist colleagues. Thirty-three years later, a telephone call informs Dany of his father's death in New York. Windsor Laferriere had fled Haiti in the 1960s, fearing persecution for his political activities. After the funeral, Dany plans to return his father to Baraderes, the village in Haiti where he was born. It is not the body he will take, but the spirit.

How does one return from exile? In acutely observed details, Dany reveals his affection for his father and for the land of his birth. Translated by two-time Governor General's Award-winner David Homel , The Return blends the gritty reality of daily life with the lush sensuality and ecstatic mystery that underlie Haitian culture. It is the novel of a great writer.

Longlisted for the 2012 International Impac Dublin Literary Award

Publisher: Vancouver : Douglas & McIntyre, c2011.
ISBN: 9781553658085
Branch Call Number: LAFER
Characteristics: 227 p. ; 22 cm.

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In this autobiographical novel, a bestseller and award winner in Quebec and France, Dany Laferrière meditates on the nature of identity as he returns to Haiti, the land of his birth, after decades in exile.


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Cdnbookworm Nov 21, 2011

This is a fascinating novel/memoir told mostly in poems. Laferrière came to Montreal from Haiti as a refugee fleeing the regime of Baby Doc. His father before him fled to New York from Papa Doc when Dany was only 4. When his father Winston dies, Dany struggles with how that makes him feel, telling the story of his emotions, his trip to New York and his father's funeral, and his subsequent return to Haiti. In Haiti, he feels both like a native and like a foreigner, and he reconnects with family and friends, explores the Haiti of his past and the Haiti of now. He finds himself finding a new relationship with his country of birth as he brings his father's spirit back home.
This book was extremely engaging and once I started it, I found it difficult to put down. Using poetry to tell the story makes it magical and brings the emotions to the fore. It allows the exploration of different aspects of the story that a straightforward memoir wouldn't allow. This book is a gem.

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