Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Amazon's Book Reviews: Caribbean Authors — Dany Laferrière

Dany Laferrière (born Windsor Kléber Laferrière, 13 April 1953) is a Haitian and Canadian novelist and journalist who writes in French. He was elected on December 12, 2013 to the Académie française. Born in Port-au-Prince, Haïti, and raised in Petit Goâve, Laferrière worked as a journalist in Haïti before moving to Canada in 1976. He also worked as a journalist in Canada, and hosted television programming for the TQS network. Laferrière published his first novel, Comment faire l'amour avec un nègre sans se fatiguer (How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired) in 1985. The novel was later adapted into a screenplay by Laferrière and Richard Sadler, earning a Genie Award nomination for best adapted screenplay at the 11th Genie Awards in 1990. The film adaptation of the novel starred Isaach De Bankolé and was directed by Jacques W. Benoit. He writes exclusively in French, although some of his works have been published in English with translations by David Homel. The 2005 film Heading South (Vers Le Sud) was adapted from three of his short stories. Read more:, and  

This is a review for How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired by Dany Laferrière - You probably shouldn't read this book if you'd be offended by interracial intercourse explicitly described, interracial psychology boldly satirized, or injunctions from the Koran quoted at profane moments. Dany Laferrière's first novel seems designed to offend everybody, but it's quite funny and an addictive binge-read of juicy, jazzy prose. Basically the non-plot follows the musings and meanderings of two black men living in a filthy apartment on rue St-Denis in Montreal in the 1980s. They are immigrants with no visible means of support, but lots of white female visitors. One is a Muslim or Buddhist saint (depending on convenience) following the Path of Inertia on a lumpy sofa. The other is our well-read, jazz-loving, philosophical narrator. I picked up this book purely (or impurely) because of the title. Every now and then I shop irresponsibly. The subject is outdated, and that's part of the charm. The narrator himself admits that the heyday of the black lover is over. The Japanese lover is now preferred. Nonetheless the narrator seems to find plenty of action in the bars, bookstores and literary circles of Montreal.. Read more:

This is a review for I Am a Japanese Writer by Dany Laferrière - Basho was a Japanese poet, and the great thing about poetry is that it can adapt to whoever is reading it. We do not need to be Japanese to understand the basic emotions. Therefore, when an American reads Bash', Bash' becomes an American poet. This is the concept behind I Am a Japanese Writer. This book is a about the origin of art, the obsolete need of a national identity, and contradictions. The story is simple; it is the journey of Dany Laferrière to write a book simply titled I Am a Japanese Writer. The book is a brilliant piece of art. Laferrière paints himself in a prosperous light as a quiet bookworm. His writing style shines, as it feels like it was written by a madman scripting his will in a paper cave. One chapter has two character's talking without punctuation. This technique works because it forces you to pay attention to the character's personalities to understand the conversation. The characters themselves feel fresh and alive. This book is an amazing expedition that intersects time, space, and identities. Much like sushi, this book is an acquired taste, but I recommend trying it at least once. Read more:

This is a review for Heading South by Dany Laferrière - I was partway through Leferriere's 1993 novel "An Aroma of Coffee" when I found "Heading South" in a library. This is the third Leferriere novel I've read, and its tone is so different. The author captures the spirit of an entire town, with the big interweaving cast of a Latin American storytelling novel, but the language is modern and cinematic. "Heading South" is exciting and quick paced, and the characters have nerve. In a year that has been so difficult for Haiti, it feels right to see fiction that shows the beauty and complexity of the country. Read more:

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