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Saturday, September 23, 2023

The Vortex Family

Reviewed by Ardain Isma, Jr.The Vortex Family is a complicated and compelling story about a Haitian family trying to make a decent living after the U.S occupation of Haiti. This family has many members, but the main characters are Olga and Saloon. They are the heads of the family. Edgard, who becomes an assistant to president Estimé, is later exiled for political reasons; Joseph is the priest; Louis is the one who gives lectures at universities; and Sylavain is a doctor. There are so many more children that I can’t even name them all. All of these folks are the children of Saloon and Olga. The family later becomes involved in the tumultuous political situations of Haiti.                                           Afterwards, Edgard is sent into exile for political reasons. The younger brother Damien is arrested by the police and beaten severely. Damien is taken to Fort Dimanche, an army prison where many people are routinely tortured and killed. Sometimes they beat the prisoners so badly that they inevitably succumb to their terrible wounds. Damien somehow survives such beatings and is later released from prison. The book never reveals exactly what happens to him after that. But my guess is that he leaves the island after his release from prison. In conclusion, after Estime’s rule, everyone goes their several ways. Edgard is still in exile, maintaining his own political activities. As for Joseph, he becomes sick and isn’t able to care for himself. Apparently, all those years of heavy political struggle finally catches up to him. The Vortex Family is a story of real hatred, undying passion, political ambition, utter redemption, repeated jealousy, malicious envy, stinking greed, relentless power, the ruthless quest for money and the most important, true and unfathomable of all these things–love.

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