Books: When Life Is a Ghost Story

In Edwidge Danticat's collection of interwoven tales, Haitians try to mourn their bloody past

When The Dew Breaker (Knopf; 244 pages), Edwidge Danticat's book of linked stories, begins, a young artist born in Brooklyn, N.Y.--Haitian, though she's never been to Haiti--learns from her father how he acquired the scar on his cheek he brought back from prison. He wasn't one of those receiving punishments, he tells his already unsettled daughter; he was one inflicting them. His sense of guilt is one reason he gave her the name "Ka," after the good angel of ancient Egyptian mythology. It's also why he gets her to read The Book of the Dead with him. A dew breaker, we...

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