Magazine article World Literature Today

God Loves Haiti

Magazine article World Literature Today

God Loves Haiti

Article excerpt

Dimitry Elias Léger. God Loves Haiti. New York. HarperCollins / Amistad. 2015. isbn 9780062348135

In his debut novel, God Loves Haiti, Dimitry Elias Léger uses the 2010 earthquake in Haiti as the backdrop for a love triangle. A flaccid, fictionalized president-"the President"-and his much-younger, philandering wife-Natasha-are about to board a plane supplied by the United States government that will fly the newly wed couple to Florence to live lives of lavish, chosen exile. The latter's lover, Alain, is locked in her closet in the National Palace and realizes he has been dumped.

After the thirty-five-second goudougoudou, the three are separated and spend the rest of the novel on their own journeys of self-discovery. The president, once an impotent leader of the country, finds a capacity to lead in one of Haiti's darkest hours. Natasha works to understand the connection between her highly collectible art and her legacy of being orphaned by parents who could not afford to care for her. Alain becomes part of a poor community working to emerge from the earthquake- even though he always lived in the rich Place Boyer unscathed by the disaster and where his parents wait and assume their only son is dead.

As the three trudge through the aftermath of the quake looking for each other, each finds a different relationship with God while attempting to understand Haiti's propensity for disaster and its tenacity in recovering. Alain's initial understanding that an earthquake just threw him from his car encapsulates Haiti's relationship with catastrophe: "But there's no history of earthquakes in Haiti. …

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