Reading the spirits in Julia Alvarez’s A wedding in Haiti
Dominican writer Julia Alvarez’s 2012 memoir, A Wedding in Haiti: The Story of a Friendship, documents her first-time travel from the Dominican Republic to Haiti over land in order to attend the wedding of Piti, a young Haitian man who had worked for her and her husband for a number of years. She deploys the literary non-fiction genre of memoir, a genre that is relatively new to her, to explore both the Dominican (collective) relationship with Haiti and her individual relationship with both Haiti and its people centering on her connection to Piti and his family. Drawing on Vodou, a nature religion that strives for balance, this article explores Alvarez’s memoir through several lwa. I argue that the lwa are deployed and manifest as mechanisms from within Vodou epistemology to restore balance to a world relationship between Haiti and the DR that reverberates in the metaphysical world. Examinations of this unequal relationship between the two nations are even more prescient contemporarily considering the recent decision by the Dominican Constitutional Court to strip children of “irregular” migrants born in the DR after 1929 of their Dominican citizenship.