Shorty is a Hatian boy trapped in the rubble of his hospital room after the catestrophic earthquake in 2010. As his mind wanders over the traumatic events of his short life, he waits in vain for rescue. Shorty remembers the violence living in Site Soley, the most poverty stricken and violent area in the Western Hemisphere. The murder of his father and kidnapping of his twin sister by gang members, the death of his friends Biggie, finding a baby in the trash on the side of the road…all these memories swirl around him as consciouness comes and goes.
Alternately, we go back to 1791 where Toussaint Louverture, famed Haitian revolutionary, is leading the Slave Rebellion in the French colony of Saint Domingue. Toussaint witnesses Vodou rituals with fellow revolutionary Boukman. Superstition and ritual spurred on the slaves, as they revolted and reclaimed a free Haiti.
What brings these two stories together? Struggle. Oppression. Hope. Superstition. Zombis. Life. Death. Darkness.
Nick Lake has done a masterful job intertwining these two tales of Haiti, one modern and one timeless. Rich in history, In Darkness opens a window to a seldom seen part of our world. I can see why In Darkness was named 2013 Printz Award winner.