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THURSDAY

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A contract between two power-obsessed dictators is sealed with lives, sugarcane, and blood. Sacrilegiously, Haiti’s François “Papa Doc” Duvalier sells the only black nation to successfully revolt against slavery and gain its independence back to the sugarcane plantation—in Rafael LeonidasTrujillo’s neighboring Dominican Republic—to “farm the bones,” as the Haitians say. The term referred to the cane, but unknowingly foreshadowed the 1937 massacre of 18,000 people, mostly cane workers, singled out for execution by Trujillo, who was elected on a platform of ethnic cleansing. This is the somber setting of Edwidge Danticat’s latest novel, The Farming of Bones, that tells the story of Amabelle, a Haitian maidservant betrayed and trapped when the murders begin. Danticat, at 29 years old, is young but wise—using simple poetic language, her novels communicate the subtleties of the Haitian experience. At 6 p.m. at Vertigo Books, 1337 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 429-9272. (Ayesha Morris)