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Amy Wilentz on Haiti, writing and truth [Video interview]

January 29, 2013|By Hector Tobar
  • Hector Tobar interviews author Amy Wilentz about her new book, "Farewell, Fred Voodoo."
Hector Tobar interviews author Amy Wilentz about her new book, "Farewell,…

Author Amy Wiltenz joined us from New York, where she's on tour with her new book "Farewell, Fred Voodoo: A Letter from Haiti."

Published this month by Simon & Shuster, "Farewell, Fred Voodoo" is a compelling work of reportage and memoir that recounts the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake that killed thousands in Haiti. Reviewing it in The Times, I called it "excellent and illuminating" and "a love letter to -- and a lament for -- Haiti."

In our interview, Wilentz, a Los Angeles resident, discusses her initial reluctance to return to Haiti in the wake of the earthquake, despite having written a book and dozens of magazine articles about its struggles with poverty and dictatorship.

"Farewell, Fred Voodoo" is a wonderfully precise and lyrical book, and Wilentz talked about her literary influences, which include George Orwell and Joan Didion. We also discuss the role of the writer in recounting politicized narratives, and her own search for honesty and truth in this book.

Who is Fred Voodoo? And why does the author wish to bid him farewell? Wilentz answers those questions too, and many others about Haitian history and the religious beliefs and stories that bind a people together.

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hector.tobar@latimes.com

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