IN DARKNESS by Nick Lake
Kirkus Star

IN DARKNESS

Age Range: 14 & up
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A tale of two Haitis—one modern, one historic—deftly intertwine in a novel for teens and adults. 

Readers first meet Shorty under the rubble of the recent earthquake, as he struggles to make sense of his past, present and future. Through flashbacks, they learn of his gangster life in a dangerous Port-au-Prince slum, where he searches for his twin sister, Marguerite, after they’ve been separated by gang violence. In his stressed state, Shorty communes with the spirit of Toussaint l’Ouverture, leader of the slave uprising that ultimately transformed Haiti into the world’s first black republic. Lake adeptly alternates chapters between “Now” (post-earthquake) and “Then” (circa turn-of-the-19th century). His minimalist, poetic style reveals respect for vodou culture, as well as startling truths: “In darkness, I count my blessings like Manman taught me. One: I am alive. Two: there is no two.” While the images of slavery and slum brutality are not for the faint-hearted, and Shorty’s view of humanitarian workers may stir debate, readers will be inspired to learn more about Haiti’s complex history. Timed for the second anniversary of the Haitian earthquake, this double-helix-of-a-story explores the nature of freedom, humanity, survival and hope.

A dark journey well worth taking—engrossing, disturbing, illuminating. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 17th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-59990-743-7
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2011




BEST TEEN BOOKS OF 2012: IN THE HERE AND NOW:

ChildrenME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL by Jesse Andrews
by Jesse Andrews
ChildrenTHE DEMON CATCHERS OF MILAN by Kat Beyer
by Kat Beyer
ChildrenBLACK HEART by Holly Black
by Holly Black
ChildrenGIRL OF NIGHTMARES by Kendare Blake
by Kendare Blake

MORE BY NICK LAKE

ChildrenSATELLITE by Nick Lake
by Nick Lake
ChildrenWHISPER TO ME by Nick Lake
by Nick Lake
ChildrenTHERE WILL BE LIES by Nick Lake
by Nick Lake

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenTASTE OF SALT by Frances Temple
by Frances Temple
ChildrenGOODNIGHT, BOY by Nikki Sheehan
by Nikki Sheehan
ChildrenTHE BOMBS THAT BROUGHT US TOGETHER by Brian Conaghan
by Brian Conaghan
ChildrenMORE THAN THIS by Patrick Ness
by Patrick Ness