Farming The Bones Book Summary

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After her parents drown in the flooded Massacre River that marks the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, young Haitian Amabelle Desir becomes a housemaid to Dominican landowner Don Ignacio, and a companion to his daughter, Valencia. As the book opens, Valencia and Amabelle are grown women, and Amabelle attends the birth of Valencia's twins. Valencia is now married to a Dominican army officer seeking to rise in the ranks, and he is soon assigned to assist in the brutal slaughter of Haitians in the Dominican Republic. Amabelle's lover, Sebastien, works in Ignacio's sugar cane field, a brutal job known to workers as ‘‘farming the bones’’ because of its killing, exhausting harshness. Amabelle has a pleasant but distant relationship with the family she serves, and the novel juxtaposes her moments in their home with her conversations with other Haitian workers in the cane fields, as they slowly realize that Dominican…show more content…
But the familiar landmarks are gone, she is disoriented and confused, and even Valencia has moved to a new house and does not recognize her at first. Eventually, she finds the cave she used to meet Sebastien in, but there are no answers there. At the end of the book she returns to the river, still seeking answers; as the book ends, she is lying in the current, giving herself up to fate and the forward flow, with faith for a new life. Haitian novelist Edwidge Danticat understands this human phenomenon well, and so in The Farming of Bones, her second novel, she takes an enormous Depression-era Haitian tragedy and serves it to her readers in portions so small, but so intensely seasoned, that many will carry around the taste of it for the rest of their lives, and their understanding of Haitians and Dominicans will never be the

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