Books & Reviews 📚

Book #16: The Dew Breaker

Author: Edwidge Danticat
Publisher: Vintage (2004)
Pages: 244
Type: Collection of short stories


We meet him late in life: a quiet man, a good father and husband, a fixture in his Brooklyn neighborhood, a landlord and barber with a terrifying scar across his face. As the book unfolds, moving seamlessly between Haiti in the 1960s and New York City today, we enter the lives of those around him, and learn that he has also kept a vital, dangerous secret. Edwidge Danticat’s brilliant exploration of the “dew breaker” – or torturer – is an unforgettable story of love, remorse, and hope; of personal and political rebellions: and of the compromises we make to move beyond the most intimate brushes with history. It firmly establishes her as one of America’s most essential writers.



Dew Breaker is a Creole nickname for torturer. It refers to a prison guard who tortures the captives in his charge.

Although The Dew Breaker is a collection of short stories – 9 to be precise – it can also read as a novel. I rather call it short stories. All 9 stories are interrelated to that time period in Haiti when the Tonton Macoutes, a group of volunteers who tortured and killed civilians under the regime of Jean-Claude Duvalier and Franςois.

Most of the stories were told from the view of Haitian immigrants living in America. Honestly, I thought the book started off well with The Book of the Dead (I call this book the Ancient Egyptian bible), but by the time I reached Night Talkers, I started skimming the rest. I couldn’t wait for the book to be finished.

I only chose this book because I want to give Caribbean stories a chance, but so far, they keep failing me. I also read it because I had to help a friend write a report based on this book.





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