After the Dance
A Walk Through Carnival in Jacmel, Haiti
Edwidge Danticat

Crown Journeys
August 06, 2002
Hardcover/153 pages
ISBN: 0-609-60908-4
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". . . a very different type of travelogue."

". . . a journey deep into her soul . . ."

[From Land’s End]
". . . perfect guidebook
for the traveler
seeking a destination
of mind as well as body."

“Even as others had been putting on their masks, just for one afternoon, I had allowed myself to remove my own,” confesses expatriate author Edwidge Danticat about her Carnival experiences in Jacmel, Haiti. Her adventures in her home country are beautifully chronicled in After the Dance, a very different type of travelogue. The reader isn’t simply bombarded with facts and figures about where and when and how to take in Carnival in Jacmel. Instead, Danticat takes you on a journey deep into her soul, allowing you to see and experience a new, yet familiar, holiday that she herself was denied participation in as a child, having been raised by a devoutly religious family. The people, feelings, sounds and textures of every day life of Carnival-time in Jacmel are the true focus of this pocket-sized book of essays. The traveler will come to a deeper understanding of the “why” of the extravagance of Carnival, and its ultimate necessity in this poor island nation.

Also in this same series from Crown Journeys is Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Cunningham’s Land’s End. Cunningham takes you on a walk through his adopted home of Provincetown, Massachusetts, the original landing place of the Pilgrims. Remote and beautiful, this Cape Cod town expands every summer with tourists and artists only to be emptied by the coming of the long, cold winters of New England. Cunningham shows us the reality of Provincetown from the absurd (the Pilgrim Monument looks like Donald Duck if you view it from one particular angle) to the shocking (meeting a “Celine Dion” drag queen strolling the streets). The history of how the tiny hamlet became a mecca for creative types such as Mark Rothko and Eugene O’Neill–as well as a haven for out-of-the-closet gays and lesbians–is also detailed.

Provincetown is painted as a non-judgmental community where many live and let live amidst the stunning scenery of its beaches, bays and boisterous nightlife. Land’s End serves as the perfect guidebook for the traveler seeking a destination of mind as well as body.
Reviewer: Cindy Appel