Pick up this book if you’ve never read anything about Haiti or if you’ve read everything about Haiti: Maps Are Lines We Draw forges a new path.
I have read many books on Haiti, but Maps Are Lines We Draw is something different. It is a wonderful book and a remarkable work. I recommend all my friends and colleagues read this book.
With her striking debut, Allison Coffelt weaves an eloquent collage of history and place, politics and policy, inquiry and knowledge. In these pages, Coffelt’s steady gaze and sharp intellect guide and inform without faltering. There is a magnitude here, a rare ability to articulate a global empathy despite privileged origins, a stripping of the ego in order to embody the other. I’m certain her words will help us re-envision the world and reassess our individual positions in it for years to come.
Haiti, Coffelt reminds the reader, is a country founded in righteous rebellion, cut off from modernity by 200 years of the politics of racial and political isolation. ... Her ability to listen to Dr. Gardy and others, to contrast her own place of privilege with their struggles, and to see the impotence of aid as we know it helps this author to respect spirit of strength and resistance rather than to “fall in love” with a helpless people. Reflections that are steeped in humility like Ms. Coffelt’s are rare and should be required reading for people pursuing short-term work in countries like Haiti.