The Return

The Return

eBook - 2011
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At the age of twenty-three, the narrator hurriedly packed his bags and left behind the stifling heat of Port-au-Prince for the unending winter of Montreal. It was 1976, and Baby Doc Duvalier's regime had just killed a journalist colleague. But thirty-three years later, after his father's death, he decides to return him to Baradères, the village where he was born. How does one return from exile? In Dany's case, he grounds himself in a hotel room in Port-au-Prince, afraid to see the city he has dreamed of in Montreal. Every time he ventures out of this safety zone, the past and present collide in dizzying ways - the rhythm of the language, the faces of the people, the dust on the roads. How is it that we are undeniably born of a particular place? Why are we always our father's son?
Publisher: Vancouver : Douglas & McIntyre, 2011
ISBN: 9781553658092
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: Homel, David


From Library Staff

Precipitated by the death of his father, Laferrière returns to Haiti after more than three decades of exile in Montreal. His meditation on the experience flows through his pen in this mixture of prose and poetry.

Fusing poetry and prose, The Return is an autobiographical account of Haitian Canadian author Dany Laferriere’s return to his native Haiti after fleeing the country over 30 years ago under Jean-Claude Duvalier’s dictatorship.

A prolific and popular writer in French for over two decades in Quebec, Laferrière gained ground in the English market with "The Return" (original title, "L'Énigme du retour"). The author returns to Haiti after fleeing the country 30-years before under the harsh Duvalier regim... Read More »

Thirty-three years after fleeing Haiti in 1976, the narrator Dany returns to his birthplace, exploring the history, geography and choices that shaped his life.

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Cdnbookworm Nov 21, 2011

This is a fascinating novel/memoir told mostly in poems. Laferrière came to Montreal from Haiti as a refugee fleeing the regime of Baby Doc. His father before him fled to New York from Papa Doc when Dany was only 4. When his father Winston dies, Dany struggles with how that makes him feel, telling the story of his emotions, his trip to New York and his father's funeral, and his subsequent return to Haiti. In Haiti, he feels both like a native and like a foreigner, and he reconnects with family and friends, explores the Haiti of his past and the Haiti of now. He finds himself finding a new relationship with his country of birth as he brings his father's spirit back home.
This book was extremely engaging and once I started it, I found it difficult to put down. Using poetry to tell the story makes it magical and brings the emotions to the fore. It allows the exploration of different aspects of the story that a straightforward memoir wouldn't allow. This book is a gem.

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