For Haitian Flag Day, I decided to read Roxane Gay’s collection of short stories entitled Ayiti which is the Kreyol translation for: Haiti. In all honesty, there’s probably no one else that I would want to read a collection of short stories regarding Haiti and its culture than from a fellow Haitian-American writer such Roxane Gay. I found the collection to be captivating, concise and culturally relevant on all fronts.
In the chapter, About My Father’s Accent, it gave me a warm feeling of home. Having parents who were born and raised in Haiti, I grew up hearing their accents so I could hear the pronunciations of words that Gay perfectly described in the text as clear as day. It made me laugh in a child-like way while also reminding me of the pain I felt in my childhood when kids would tease me for their accents, specifically my father’s. In my mind, teasing my dad was from a loving place and anyone else doing it was unacceptable.
Another story, I enjoyed was There’s no E in Zombi which speaks to Haitian culture involving Voodoo. I’m glad this was included because one of the first things that comes into someone’s mind, for some reason, when I say that I’m Haitian is voodoo. Gay hilariously attempts to explain the proper pronunciation of the word and what letters require emphasis. The love story component was my favorite, however, because it resembled Haitian folklore, stories and cautionary tales that are passed through generations. A girl falls in love, he does not love her in return so she has no choice but to turn the love of her life into a zombi (that’s right – no e!)
I don’t want to continue to spoil the collection of short stories for you but I am honestly so glad this was the first work of Roxane Gay that I have read so far. She is a phenomenal writer and I feel as though she did Haiti the justice in its depiction that has been lacking in other stories. It’s concise and incredibly enlightening for those who want a glimpse into Haitian culture for what it truly is and not what the media has portrayed it to be. If you are a fan of Roxane Gay’s work, if you are Haitian, or if you’re just looking for a good, bite-sized read definitely go check out Ayiti by Roxane Gay.
Today is Haitian Flag Day! I’m a proud first generation Haitian-American woman, raised by proud Haitian parents. My parents left Haiti, to come to America and make a better life for my sister and I. Despite the move, they have always kept the Haitian culture alive within us from the language (Kreyol) to the delicious cuisine.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been trying even harder to learn more about the culture since I will have my own family soon enough. I want to make sure that whether they are completely Haitian or mixed, that they have a complete understanding of their culture. From January 1 which is Haitian Independence Day to May 18 Haitian Flag Day, I want them to understand and appreciate the sacrifices their ancestors made for them.
With that, I’ve decided to announce my next book up for review: Roxane Gay’s Ayiti. Be sure to check back for the review.
My favorite authors are transient. They are constantly changing depending on outside factors like my tastes and interests. The authors that I can’t get enough of now were definitely not on my radar when I was in high school. Here is a list of 5 of my favorite authors to date and why.
1) Gillian Flynn
I absolutely adore her. She introduced me to the enthralling, irresistibility of a good thriller and suspense novel. That feeling when I first read Gone Girl is a moment that I will cherish forever. Though I’ve only read one of her books, I am planning on purchasing everything she has written.
2) Rupi Kaur
A rare and talented poet. She has only one book of poetry published but “milk and honey” has changed my life for the better. In short, poignant prose, she spoke the rawest of truths. I was so inspired after reading it that she immediately cemented her place in my favorites. Milk and honey should be required reading.
3) Roxane Gay
She’s on my list for a number of reasons.
She’s incredible, for one. Although I haven’t read a single piece of her writing, she is a fellow Haitian women and writer. Being that we’re both interested in the publishing world, I immediately consider her a kindred soul. Besides being bisexual (which I am not), we are basically the same person and I truly admire her and what she has accomplished for herself as a fellow first generation child of immigrant parents. I’ve purchased 3 out of 4 of her books and can’t wait to read them.
4) William Shakespeare
You’re probably thinking “how random” but honestly I’ve always really liked Shakespeare. I’m not like a weirdo who can recite Hamlet’s monologues off the top of my head but I’m crazy for Othello. It’s my favorite play. Shakespeare was able to create and imagine these lasting and complex stories that are discussed in the U.S and abroad, he was a genius. RIP.
5) Jane Austen
How sappy, how traditionally feminine. I’m overwhelmed by the cliche of this choice but I love her nonetheless. Pride and Prejudice was iconic, Becoming Jane (the movie), everything I’ve read from her has been exceptional. I don’t read romance novels but I will always appreciate a good Jane Austen novel.