#47: The Dew Breaker by Edwidge Danticat. I picked this up this weekend at my mother's house. I don't know why she had it--I think she had read a review of it somewhere. It is certainly not her usual type of reading.
Danticat writes about Haiti. In this novel, she tells the story of a man who at first seems a model citizen, a barber in a Brooklyn neighbor, a Haitian expatriate, whose daughter has used him as a subject for her artistic works, feeding on his assumed past as a prisoner. As it turns out he was the hunter, "not the prey." This realization shocks the daughter into questioning everything. The rest of the novel is a series of vignettes about people whose life the torturer touched.
In some ways, the book reads more as a series of short stories; but all the stories have the father as at least a peripheral figure. The evocation of Haiti both under Baby Doc and after his departure is searing and heart-breaking.
The question remains open at the end--is there atonement and redemption for such a man? And how is it gained?
Not for the squeamish, but a challenging read......