Lavil

Lavil:Life, Love, and Death in Port-au-Prince

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Moving stories of life in a country enduring an ongoing crisis

Half a dozen years after the deadliest earthquake in the history of the Western Hemisphere struck Haiti, the island nation remains in crisis, but the international community no longer seems interested. This immersive and engrossing book, based on five years of research and scores of interviews translated from Haitian Kreyol, gives voice to the continuing struggle of Haitian people to reconstruct their nation from the devastation of the earthquake, and from many decades of political and economic disaster.

The earthquake killed more than 200,000, rendered more than a million and a half homeless, and wiped out what little infrastructure existed in the country. But prior to the quake, half the country was illiterate and two-thirds of Haitians lived in poverty. This book makes clear the long genesis of the ongoing crisis and illuminates the depths of the continuing problems, and does so through some of the most marginal and least-heard people in the world. An interview with a restavek--a child sent by poor parents to work as an unpaid servant in a wealthier household--is an example. A recent study determined a figure of 173,000 restaveks--about 8 percent of the population of children.

Reviews

  • A book about choosing to live and not to die, to fight, to survive, to thrive.

    Edwidge Danticat
  • Nothing is more eloquent than the voice of those who endure and try valiantly to survive.

    Noam Chomsky
  • Lavil brings to the fore the voices of the people of the wounded city of Port-au-Prince ... these stories are redolent of both pride and fears of an uncertain future.

    Paul Farmer, author, Haiti After the Earthquake