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Posted July 3, 2012
If not for the personal nature of the author's trip to Haiti, this book would reek of the "White Man's Burden," since the premise involves a privileged citizen of the Western world traveling to an impoverished country to help out of goodwill. However, Tears for the Mountain avoids this pitfall and, instead, presents itself as a work of excellence due to Rakunas' vibrant writing and honest, heartfelt narration.
While the author's generalizations about Haiti may turn off some readers, they serve to illustrate the transformation of the author's worldview from a narrow-minded ethnocentrism to a deeper understanding of the Haitian people and of the human spirit. The weight of this transformation is beautifully captured by the author's prose, which is advanced in sentence structure, vocabulary and fluidity. Although some of the author's side remarks come off as immature--or, at least more suited for fiction--the quality of the writing itself is excellent. From the poetic, profound title to the elegant, flowing descriptive passages, Rakunas' trip is portrayed as immensely personal and profound. Overall, if you want a quick, well-written and sentimental read, I recommend this book.
Posted February 20, 2012