The political, economical, and social problems of Haiti rarely become the main theme for the depiction in books, especially in works for children. Moreover, the difficulties which the Haitians experience every day stayed beyond the focus of the public’s of attention during a long period of time, since the Haitian revolution of the 18th century. That is why it is significant to pay much attention to the peculiarities of Nick Lake’s novel In Darkness and to its analysis in the review provided by Katie Orenstein for The New York Times.
Katie Orenstein has developed a review on the book written by Nick Lake which title is “Haiti Rising”. Thus, the title of the review gives the prompts on the main idea of the analysis which should be provided in the article. The review can be divided into two logical parts in relation to the aspects which are discussed in them.
Thus, the first part presents the Orenstein’s interpretation of the peculiarities of the main character’s personality and his visions of the reality in Haiti. The main character of the novel is Shorty, “a 15-year-old gang member entombed in the rubble of a collapsed hospital” (Orenstein 6).
The author also emphasizes the features of Lake’s presentation of the Haitian history through the boy’s eyes in connection with Toussaint L’Ouverture’s perception, “Shorty passes time by recalling his violent childhood in the slums, and shares a psychic (read: voodoo) connection with Toussaint L’Ouverture, the rebel slave leader and hero of the 18th-century Haitian revolution” (Orenstein 6).
The second part of the review is the analysis of the novel from the point of the historical and social context with references to the peculiarities of Nick Lake’s style and language. The author strictly separated these two parts, and the logical structure of the review was broken.
In spite of the fact that the analytical part of the review discusses all the main points of the novel, the analysis of the character which goes before the main part does not allow perceiving the review as the whole one combined by a single idea. However, Katie Orenstein uses several signal words which help to follow the message. They are ‘violence’, ‘reality’, ‘blur’, ‘zombie’. These words emphasize the main aspects on which the author wants to focus in her review.
The main advantage of the article is the analysis of the book as the contribution to the youth’s development, and its discussion from the points of the historical and social meaning of those cruel events which become the part of the everyday reality for the Haitians. “In Darkness works on multiple levels by blurring realities – telescoping across time, between dreams and waking, and (perhaps less intentionally) between the depiction of Haiti by the artist and Haiti itself” (Orenstein 6).
Katie Orenstein logically examines the main aspects of the novel with paying attention to the significant issues, ideas, and concepts (liberty, violence, darkness). She also concentrates on the tone of the novel with references to the mythological issues. These considerations help to come to the conclusion of the review which focuses on the idea of hope which is controversially represented in the Haitian vision of the mythological figure of zombie.
Nick Lake’s novel In Darkness is the discussion of the main problems which the Haitians experienced every day during many centuries. In her review for The New York Times, Katie Orenstein has analyzed the major ideas of the book with concentrating on the peculiarities of the story’s presentation and the main character’s depiction.
Orenstein, Katie. “Haiti Rising”. The New York Times 10 Feb. 2012: 6. Print.