Farewell, Fred Voodoo: A Letter from Haiti

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Simon and Schuster, Jan 8, 2013 - History - 329 pages
3 Reviews
A brilliant writer’s account of a long, painful, ecstatic—and unreciprocated—affair with a country that has long fascinated the world.

The Rainy Season, Amy Wilentz’s award-winning 1989 portrait of Haiti after the fall of Jean-Claude Duvalier, was praised in the New York Times Book Review as “a remarkable account of a journalist’s transformation by her subject.” In her relationship with the country since then, Wilentz has witnessed more than one magical transformation. Now, with Farewell, Fred Voodoo, she gives us a vivid portrayal of the extraordinary people living in this stark place.

Wilentz traces the country’s history from its slave plantations through its turbulent revolutionary history, its kick-up-the-dirt guerrilla movements, its totalitarian dynasty that ruled for decades, and its long and always troubled relationship with the United States. Yet through a history of hardship shines Haiti’s creative culture—its African traditions, its French inheritance, and its uncanny resilience, a strength that is often confused with resignation.

Haiti emerged from the dust of the 2010 earthquake like a powerful spirit, and this stunning book describes the country’s day-to-day struggle and its relationship to outsiders who come to help out. There are human-rights reporters gone awry, movie stars turned aid workers, priests and musicians running for president, doctors turned diplomats. A former U.S. president works as a house builder and voodoo priests try to control elections.

A foreign correspondent on a simple story becomes, over time and in the pages of this book, a lover of Haiti, pursuing the essence of this beautiful and confounding land into its darkest and brightest corners. Farewell, Fred Voodoo is a spiritual journey into the heart of the human soul, and Haiti has found in Amy Wilentz an author of astonishing wit, sympathy, and eloquence.
 

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User Review  - slavenrm - LibraryThing

As always seems to be the case, I received this book courtesy of a GoodReads giveaway. Despite that kind consideration my candid thoughts reside comfortably below. The first thing to make absolutely ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bluepigeon - LibraryThing

I had started Farewell, Fred Voodoo before the trip, so it was the only book I took with me in physical book format. I finished it shortly after we landed, despite having watched a stupid Hollywood ... Read full review

Contents

SlideshowPrologue
1
Toussaint Camp
25
White Flight
41
Traumatic Amputation
51
I
69
Zombies of the World
74
Building Back Better
99
Citizen Haiti
120
Spaghetti Rounds
159
Werewolves in the Camps
167
II
194
The ViolentSex Cure
202
Pact with the Devil
213
Aristides Citadel
227
Plastic Wheelchairs
246
The Value ofTalk
260

GolfCourse Camp
139
Missionary Style
145
Ghosts by Daylight
279
Copyright

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About the author (2013)

Amy Wilentz is the author of The Rainy Season, Martyrs’ Crossing, and I Feel Earthquakes More Often Than They Happen. She has won the Whiting Writers Award, the PEN/Martha Albrand Non-Fiction Award, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Rosenthal Award. She writes for The New Yorker and The Nation and teaches in the Literary Journalism program at UC Irvine.

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