Dessalines is capriciously beaten and finally killed by Macoute soldiers during Sophie's trip to Haiti with her infant daughter in Section Three.
Illiterate for much of Sophie's childhood, Atie is taught to read by Louise shortly before the latter's unceremonious departure. He is kind to Martine, though he does not deeply understand her, as symbolized by his ability to sleep like a log during most of her nightmares.
The characters and plot are interesting, but the narrative style doesn't evoke the emotional response that would seem appropriate to the action. I enjoyed The Farming of Bones more than this and would recommend that if you have not yet read anything by Edwidge Danticat.
In simple, lyrical prose enriched by an elegiac tone and piquant observations, she makes Sophie's confusion and guilt, her difficult assimilation into American culture and her eventual emotional liberation palpably clear.
She is calm, quiet and sleeps peacefully, signs that perhaps she has not inherited the insomnia and nightmares of her mother and grandmother.
The book's strength lies in the rarity of its Haitian viewpoint, a voice seldom heard in American literature. Though Louise teaches the adult Atie to read and write, she remains a troubling influence, implicated in Atie's night wanderings and her increasing alcoholism. The burden of being a woman in Haiti, where purity and chastity are a matter of family honor, and where "nightmares are passed on through generations like heirlooms," is Danticat's theme.
Buki is an Ethiopian college student who was ritually genitally mutilated by her grandmother as a girl.
Danticat is herself a year-old Haitian American who, like the novel's narrator, came to the United States in her early teens to join her family.