Rubble (Paperback)

The Search for a Haitian Boy

By Sandra Marquez Stathis

Lyons Press, 9780762772650, 294pp.

Publication Date: December 6, 2011

List Price: 16.95*
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A remarkable story of friendship and lifelong bonds, set in the turmoil of Haiti Writing as a mother, journalist, and former human rights observer, Sandra Marquez Stathis takes readers on a powerful journey to Haiti, where she lived and worked for four years in the 1990s. Returning in the aftermath of the deadly 7.0 quake that struck in January 2010, she embarks on a quest in search of Junior Louis, an unforgettable boy who was seven years old and homeless when she first met him many years ago. Marquez is determined to find out if he has survived the quake and to express her gratitude for his enduring friendship. In so doing, she learns that Junior's story is Haiti's story. In this vivid narrative, Marquez chronicles her soul-etching and life-altering years living and working in Haiti, her deepening friendship with Junior, who is like a son to her, and her post-earthquake journey to find him in the rubble. "Rubble" is both an eyes-wide-open portrait of Haiti--its beauty and its pathos--and a tender, emotional story about the author's lifelong bond with an extraordinary young boy.

About the Author

Sandra Marquez Stathis has worked as a staff writer for People magazine, the Miami Herald, the Associated Press, and Reuters. She lived in Haiti for four years as a human rights observer and press officer for a United Nations mission.

Praise For Rubble: The Search for a Haitian Boy

“In Rubble, Haiti and its people are brought to vivid life by Sandra Marquez Stathis, who conveys her quite interesting and heartwarming tale with elegance and expertise.” —Oscar Hijuelos, author of Thoughts Without Cigarettes and Pulitzer Prize Winner The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love

"A moving and deeply felt biography of love’s persistence amid political, personal and cultural ruins. Rubble: The Search for a Haitian Boy is the story of Haiti told through one of its remarkable children. A finely wrought meditation on commitment and what it means to care for another human being." —Ana Menendez author of In Cuba I Was a German Shepherd

"Recent scientific studies suggest that the human desire to help others is innate. In journalist Sandra Marquez-Stathis’ remarkable first book, that drive is explored in a place where the choices of how to assist are confounding and the ramifications of the decision potentially life altering: Haiti.

 While Rubble has many of the features of a modern-day fairy tale—a young American human rights observer in Haiti who falls in love with a sweet and charismatic homeless boy, and her subsequent search to find him (almost two decades later) in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake—it is refreshingly nothing of the sort. Instead, it is a story packed with a candid humility reflecting the complexity of the author’s efforts, skills, and decisions set against a backdrop of a country where political upheaval, unrest, poverty, and foreign intervention had already produced seismic catastrophes well before January of 2010.  

With her decisions to go to Haiti (both in the 1990s and after the earthquake) and her experiences there, Stathis shows a great deal of introspection and compassion that never remotely teeters toward patronizing or condescension. At times, the author didn’t completely comprehend her environment or its people, and at one point even questions some of the aid work done there. Yet, as she came to see that the necessities and truths of survival in Haiti are not “black and white” or linear in logic, but more accurately nuanced and circular, her understanding of the county and culture broadened and her attachment deepened. Haiti took Stathis in, enlightened and adopted her in a way that perhaps only human rights, justice, and aid workers can know. As Stathis recounts her story of Junior (the boy) and Haiti, she includes many individuals who have been drawn to work with the people of this nation. The bond to this adopted land and with each other is never more apparent and poigniant than when Stathis mourns the loss of students and faculty from Lynn University in Florida, people whom she has never met.

 Rubble is virtually void of cultural judgment and full of awe for the pure beauty and brutality that is Haiti. Although most of us will never have the courage to venture as far, or risk as much as Stathis did, by reading her account one can certainly get a vicarious taste of a most momentous life journey."