Best Nightmare on Earth: A Life in Haiti (A Destinations Book)

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9780133723274: Best Nightmare on Earth: A Life in Haiti (A Destinations Book)

A kaleidoscopic memoir of a 35-year love affair with mysterious, exotic Haiti. The dialogue the author conducts with this beleaguered island is rich with surprising revelations and startling juxtapositions. "The best all-encompassing explanation of this . . . tragic island country that I have read".--Digby Diehl, Playboy.

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From Library Journal:

In a rambling, autobiographical account spanning 37 years, novelist Gold ( Travels in San Francisco , LJ 11/15/89) describes his fascination with Haiti, which began when he first visited the island in the early 1950s. Over the years he cultivated a cadre of friends who provided him entrance into the inner circle of Haitian society. His memoir is a kaleidoscope of impressions and experiences: voodoo ceremonies, cockfights, machete-armed police, malnourished children, young boys peddled for homosexual use, artists, writers, carnivals, and the sound of drums. Gold's affection for the island is apparent but the book suffers from a lack of solid framework. Only sketchy historical background is provided and Haiti's unstable political history is dealt with only in the context of his personal experience. As a result, interest lags quickly. A similar work is Amy Wilentz's Rainy Season ( LJ 6/11/89), which successfully combines personal commentary with an in-depth view of Haiti's history, politics, and culture.
- Marlene M. Kuhl, Baltimore Cty. P.L.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Publishers Weekly:

Gold ( Fathers ) first visited Haiti in 1953 and has returned many times since to "my favorite place in the whole wide world." The nightmare aspect referred to in the title includes the burning of a suspected werewolf in Port-au-Prince and Gold's frightening confrontation with the roving henchmen called tonton macoutes. He lived in Haiti for periods during the Duvalier regimes, of both p ere and fils , and was at one point banned from the country for his reporting. Later, after political violence and the AIDS panic threatened the tourist trade, he was invited to serve as Haitian consul in San Francisco. He declined. Gold's remarks about the vagaries of Haitian politics, corruption and racism are acute and enlightening, but what sticks in the mind is his tender affection for the people and culture of a country "poor in all resources but the energies of imagination." Among other things, Gold's impressionistic memoir reveals what it's like to be a blanc who feels completely at home in a black society.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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