Taste of Salt : A Story of Modern Haiti
by Temple, Frances


In the hospital after being beaten by Macoutes, seventeen-year-old Djo tells the story of his impoverished life to a young woman who, like him, has been working with the social reformer Father Aristide to fight the repression in Haiti

Incidents in Haiti's turbulent recent history are seen through the eyes of two Port-au-Prince teenagers in a poignant (doubly so, considering subsequent events) first novel. Djo and Jeremie are both from the slums. Djo ``almost went to school,'' spent years living with and helping the revolutionary priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and now lies in a clinic, badly injured after a firebombing. Jeremie, an honor student, has been moved to sit at Djo's bedside, listen to his story, and later, when he falls into a coma, tell hers. Though the two have very differentpersonalities-cheerful Djo sees the world as a simple place; Jeremie finds it full of shadows and uncertainty-they've both seen grinding poverty, survived bloody Macoute attacks, and fervently support the newly elected Aristide; both hope for a brighter future. In voodoo lore, a pinch of salt can give a zombie self-awareness and escape; here, Temple offers such a taste while celebrating the revolutionary movement that has given the Haitian people a taste of escape from oppression. (Fiction. 12+) Copyright 1999 Kirkus Reviews

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