Zo

Xander Miller. Knopf, $26.95 (368p) ISBN 978-1-101-87412-7
Miller’s resonant debut is a coming-of-age romance set in the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where Zo, an orphan and the “poorest man in the western world” grows up in a tiny fishing village and proves to be adept at the art of seduction. While working as a laborer mixing and hauling cement, Zo’s life is transformed after a chance meeting with aspiring nurse Anaya Leconte, the well-heeled 20-year-old daughter (and descendent of Haitian president Cincinnatus Leconte) of a wealthy doctor who also happens to be Zo’s boss, and Zo instantly falls for her. Anaya and Zo become secret lovers in defiance of the marriage Leconte has planned for Anaya. The two flee to Port-au-Prince and elope to the hills above the city—only to become separated during the 2010 earthquake. Each believing the other dead, Zo and Anaya nonetheless remain devoted to their love as they navigate the changed island in all its disarray. Miller traveled to Haiti after 2010 as an EMT and admits in a note that, as an American, “he is an unlikely choice” to set a story there. Though Miller relies on tropes of Haitian history to move the story along, he does justice to his belief that Haitians have survived by saving themselves, not through outside intervention. While other writers better describe Haiti, the love story of Zo and Anaya tugs the heartstrings. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 05/14/2020
Release date: 08/11/2020
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-1-101-87218-5
Ebook - 978-1-101-87413-4
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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