Edwidge Danticat and Francisco Goldman explore Kafkaesque stranger than fiction true stories
Haitian-born novelist Edwidge Danticat and Boston-born (to a Guatemalan mother and Jewish-American father) novelist Francisco Goldman appeared at the Miami Book Fair International 2007 to read from and talk about their Kafkaesque stranger-than-fiction books of non-fiction. Danticat began with an introduction of her second book of non-fiction, Brother, I'm Dying, about her dying father and the unexpected death of her uncle in a U.S. Immigration Detention Center. Danticat then proceeded to read a chapter from the book, which recently won an Essence Award, titled Afflictions. Francisco Goldman then took the microphone and described the genesis of his first non-fiction book, The Art Of Political Murder, on spec assignment with The New Yorker. Offering background on Guatemala's politically charged Human Rights Crimes Amnesty agreement, Goldman proceeded to tell the story of the brutal murder of Bishop Juan Gerardi, one othe country's leading human rights activists, as he drove his car into his garage one night. Goldman's narrative revealed how a lone accidental witness to the crime unraveled the government's nefarious deceit and murder, concluding in a high-profile trial of Guatemalan justice. During the audience question and answer period afterward, Danticat exposed more details about the bureaucratic double-speak of the U.S. Detention Center in Miami, which later won an award for it's service to the nation. Goldman expressed the enormous relief he felt upon leaving the paranoia and stress of the trial behind in Guatemala when it was over to hang out in a 4-star hotel and write the New Yorker story. Danticat fielded questions on the Byzantine process of political asylum and issues of post-9/11 immigration. Goldman and Danticat both discussed the issues of writing non-fiction when facts are hard to establish. Danticat weighed in on the challenges faced by immigrant children in the U.S., and closed the discussion with recommendations on how to help victims of hurricane damage in Haiti.
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