For a leper, many things are impossible, and many other things are easily done. Babalao Chuck said he could fly to other side of the island and peek at the nuns bathing. And when a man with no hands claims that he can fly, you listen.
The inhabitants of an island walk into the sea. A man passes a jail cell's window, shouldering a wooden cross. And in the international shop of coffins, a story repeats itself, pointing toward an inevitable tragedy. If the facts of these stories are sometimes fantastical, the situations they describe are complex, and all too real.
Lyrical, lush, and haunting, the prose shimmers in this nuanced debut, set mostly in the US Virgin Islands. Part oral history, part postcolonial narrative, How to Escape from a Leper Colony is ultimately a loving portrait of a wholly unique place. Like Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Edwidge Danticat, and Maryse Conde before her, Yanique has crafted a book that is heartbreaking, hilarious, magical, and mesmerizing. An unforgettable collection.