This young writer, born in Haiti and raised in Brooklyn, is for me a model of what a journalistic writer should be: a seeker after truth; a bystander who loves being on the sidelines listening, watching and recording; a manic stickler for details.
But, mirabile dictu, this young writer is not a journalist at all, her writing up to now having been of the larger truth variety, dreamy novels and short stories colored in red and gold.
"Brother, I'm Dying" tells the story of Edwidge's paternal uncle who chose to remain in Haiti through horrid years of blood and betrayal from the 1990s through the new millenium, only to find in 2004 that his life was in grave danger from chimeres gangsters who had already wrecked his Christian church.
Having reached Miami (he had a valid visa), the Rev. Joseph Dantica (there is no 't' at the end of his last name as in Edwidge's) was nonetheless detained by U.S. Customs officials. Skipping the intervening details, we'll say right here that the saintly reverend collapsed while in custody and died before Edwidge was able to intervene and free him.
This is the stuff of tragedy, and Edwidge treats it as such; but she also (thankfully) does an amazing prosecutorial job and duely points fingers at guilty parties.
Adding to the drama of this tale, and to the sorrow, is the insertion into the play of Edwidge's dad, Rev. Dantica's brother, who drove a cab in Brooklyn and was himself (literally) sick unto death at the time of the Reverend's horrid undoing. The father/brother, Mira, died soon thereafter.
This is a must-read for those wanting to understand the pitiful relationship between the United States and Haiti, a coupling that goes back two decades and is soaked in blood and tears.
Many more tears are yet to be shed over this tale. And hopefully one day soon justice will be served.