"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.
From the Inside Flap:
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.
"This is the most powerful book I've read in years. Though delicate in its prose and civil in its tone, it hits like a freight train. It's a call to arms for all immigrants, all artists, all those who choose to bear witness, and all those who choose to listen. And though it describes great upheaval, tragedy, and injustice, it's full of humor, warmth, grace, and light."--Dave Eggers, author of Zeitoun and What Is the What
"Edwidge Danticat is a great literary artist. She is also a grand cultural critic whose wisdom and compassion loom large in this magnificent book."--Cornel West, Princeton University
"Edwidge Danticat's prose has a Chekhovian simplicity--an ability to state the most urgent truths in a measured and patiently plain style that gathers a luminous energy as it moves inexorably forward. In this book she makes a strong case that art, for immigrants from countries where human rights and even survival are often in jeopardy, must be a vocation to witness if it is not to be an idle luxury."--Madison Smartt Bell, author of Toussaint Louverture: A Biography
Create Dangerously is an intelligent and passionate book on the role of the immigrant artist. As in her fiction, the lucidity and humility of Edwidge Danticat's prose has a quiet force. This book is as much a testimonial to the spirit of resistance and defiance as it is an elegy for those who have died and disappeared; it is as much a provocation to the artist as it is a book of mourning."--Saidiya V. Hartman, author of Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route
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