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9237: Haiti appears in an American novel (fwd)
From: Sarah Belfort <email@example.com>
I'll leave it to others to comment on last night's
episode of the West Wing, in which Haiti figured quite
prominently. (For those interested, this was part one
of a two-parter; I assume part two will air next
Today I mainly wanted to draw your attention to the
book "American Gods", by Neil Gaiman (William Morrow--
imprint of HarperCollins, 2001). Neil Gaiman is an
English writer, now living in the U.S., who is a very
fine storyteller. His works draw on mythology such
that ordinary people find themselves interacting with
gods or other supernatural beings. I've been
following him since his work on the "comic book",
Sandman. He's also written other graphic novels,
short stories, and another book-format novel. He
seems to have started with English folklore and
beliefs and then extended his knowledge/interest
around the world.
Anyway I was very pleasantly surprised to find Haiti
and Haitian loa depicted respectfully and accurately
in "American Gods". There is a story-within-a-story,
pp. 252-264, of twins who are sold into slavery in
Africa and brought to the Americas, and how they bring
their gods with them. One twin ends up in Haiti, and
one in New Orleans. ... the one in Haiti participates
in the Bois Caiman ceremony, etc. As far as I can
tell, and as far as history goes in a work of fiction,
the story is entirely historically accurate (also
beautiful and heart-breaking and imaginative).
Also: there is a mention of zombies on page 157; loa
including Gede appear on page 382, and on page 421
Baron Samedi has a speaking role.
In case you are interested in other (non-Haitian) ties
to Africa, Anansi is a major character in this book.
I hope anyone interested will be able to take a look
at this book. It was easy for me to find in my local
library here in Massachusetts, although there was a
waiting list for it. ..I'm glad that many people are
being exposed to positive images of Haiti and vodou!
[or however we're spelling it these days]
Would appreciate any comments from others who have
read this book.
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