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Selected by our Editorial Experts
Hugely original, this is an utterly gripping and deeply moving story set in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. Trapped and bleeding in a bombed out hospital, Shorty tells the story of his brief life. Brought up in a slum city notable for its violence and poverty, Shorty and his twin sister are the children of the complex cultural history of Haiti. In his semi-delirium, Shorty recounts their lives which have been a strange mix of modern gang warfare, revolution and the old, old voodoo traditions of the island. Shorty’s story runs in parallel with to story of Toussaint, the great Haitian revolutionary who forced the French from Haiti and set the slaves who worked the land free. Simultaneously bleak and uplifting this is a stirring read that uncovers an important moment in history.Who are our Editorial Experts?
In Darkness by Nick Lake
In darkness I count my blessings like Manman taught me. One. I am alive. Two. There is no two.
Haiti 2010: in the aftermath of the earthquake a boy lies trapped beneath the rubble: terrified, thirsty and alone. Shorty is a child of the slums, a teenager who has seen enough violence to last a lifetime and who has been inexorably drawn into the world of the gangsters who rule his broken city: men who dole out money with one hand and death with the other. But Shorty has a secret: a flame of revenge that burns inside him, fuelling his determination to find his beloved twin sister, stolen from him five years ago. In the darkness the lines between the present and the past begin to blur and, as Shorty fights for life, his struggle becomes part of a two-hundred-year-old story - a story of courage and betrayal, of freedom and of hope. Shorty may not be quite as alone as he believes...
ReviewsNick Lake weaves Haiti's dark past with its painful present into a story that is gripping, moving and uplifting. This novel dances with extraordinary confidence from one era to another, mixing the contemporary with the historical to create a rich and fascinating dialogue across the centuries ... Stunningly original and hard-hitting Will Sutcliffe In Darkness is both violent and subtle, unexpectedly reminding me of The Wire. Characters, settings, and the half-believed Haitian vodou religion are handled with patience and complexity, even in a terrifying, poverty-stricken setting ... Lake doesn't shy away from Shorty's immersion in gang culture, nor the profanity that permeates it and Short's own participation in its brutality and murder ... In Darkness is a serious, nuanced, challenging novel -- Patrick Ness Guardian [Lake] has given Shorty a vivid, unforgettable voice; this is about a lifelong battle for survival, and the hard-won ending is incredibly moving The Times In Darkness is both a searing indictment of man's inhumanity to man and a testament to the resilience of the human spirit Daily Mail Remarkable ... Mr. Lake's elegant, restrained prose and distinct characters will reward adults and older teenagers able to brave a story with strong language, harrowing scenes of brutality and an almost painful stab of joy at the end Wall Street Journal In Darkness is complex, human and enormously gripping ... Linking the Haitian ganglands with a world where magic happens and death sometimes does not, it is a novel that feels, in parts, like an episode of The Wire as retold by a Cloud Atlas-era David Mitchell ... Which is to say that In Darkness is brutal and stark, poetic and soulful - and definitely worth keeping the light on for Scotland on Sunday
About the Author
Publication date5th January 2012
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PublisherBloomsbury Publishing PLC
Interest Age: From 12