God Loves Haiti
By Dimitry Elias Leger
Published by Harpercollins
Available in hardback and ebook.
Set around the the 2010 Haitian earthquake, Dimitry Elias Leger's debut novel, God Loves Haiti, explores what is lost and even gained during a disaster.
The epicentre of this story is a love triangle between Natasha, an artist, her husband who is also the President of Haiti, and her lover, Alain, a local businessman. All three characters are left confused with regards to their personal life and this reflects the unstable situation of the country. Around them people are struggling to cope and survive. Yet these three characters are trapped in their own personal disaster, with no foreign aid to help them make a decision. Religion, politics, love - these are the things people cling to during a crisis. Each of the main character represents one of these aspects. Embracing either religion, politics or love will help them survive.
Leger dips in to the viewpoints of all three characters, allowing the reader to see past events and how they have ended up in this situation. Natasha is determined to leave Haiti behind and will even marry a man who she doesn't love. She will even lock up the man who she loves in a cupboard so she can get to the airport to escape her former life. Even the president wants to escape his former life, show the people of his country that he is a natural leader and will not run off during a crisis. Internal struggles, external struggles - Leger makes sure his characters are as authentic as possible.
Leger makes sure that he shows how people from different classes have to survive after the earthquake. The privileged few are allowed protection in the camps run by foreign agencies while most citizens take shelter in the park, struggling to survive but the sense of community growing stronger. There is hope in these camps and the need to protect their cultural identity.
This book is rich in detail, and while it is about a disaster, Leger makes sure that there are plenty of laughs and surreal moments in the plot. One of my favourite moments was the President, while flat out on the tarmac of the runway, after the earthquake, has a vision including Haiti's previous leaders, all pleading for salvation. These surreal parts break up the brutal details of the earthquake and its effects on the population but Leger makes sure that the balance is just right.
God Loves Haiti is a complex book full of energy, laughs and insights in Haiti. This is a book definitely worth reading.
You can buy God Loves Haiti from your favourite bookshop.
I was kindly sent a copy by the publisher.