The Gift of Misfortune

Young Adult - Religious Theme
288 Pages
Reviewed on 08/12/2013
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

"A Poet’s Kingdom" is a unique collection of verse from Joseph P. Policape. It effectively serves the needs of its poetry citizens. What you can find in this new collection of poems is a beautiful rainbow of existence: happiness, sadness, pride, hope and displeasure, regret and perspective, grief and joy, the simple thankfulness of God, nature, and life. The Death of My Brother, The Death of My Sister, My Temperament, To See Heaven and I See You in Nature, My Daughter’s Eighth Birthday and Someone Believes in Me are just some of the many titles you will be reading about in Joseph P. Policape’s new book of poems, "A Poet’s Kingdom". Mr. Policape deals with just about any issue you want to read about in his unique poetic style.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite

In The Gift of Misfortune, Haitian siblings, Armand and Deborah Etienne, live in fear of an unpredictable future in their hometown of Port-au-Prince and the rest of Haiti. The young Etiennes are not rich, but they have a comfortable life compared to most people who live in the capital, and they are aware of the dangers lurking around them. Each day heightens their anxiety, especially when they hear about a close friend who has disappeared without a trace. Living under an oppressive government is comparable to living in hell. Written by Joseph P. Policape, this is a brilliantly written contemporary fiction look into the journey of the young immigrants to the United States.

Armand Etienne’s dilemma is understandable. No matter how degraded your country seems when compared to others, to be apart from your family, much less sever all ties with the place where you were born and grew up, is difficult. Personally, The Gift of Misfortune is a serious fiction to me, as its depiction of the political turmoil, immigration, divorce, and child custody battle clearly reflects on reality. Even so, it is also a brilliantly entertaining and well-written piece of material that is difficult to stop reading until the end.

My admiration is limitless for the fierce intelligence of Joseph P. Policape as he explores certain issues in America with such overwhelming effectiveness; without ignoring the fact that a novel is the creation of a fictional world and not simply a platform from which to preach one’s credentials. An exceptionally satisfying read.

Scott Albert

The Gift of Misfortune is the debut novel by Joseph P. Policape, a Haitian-born writer who immigrated to the US in the '80s. This 288-page novel is broken into 22 chapters that chronicle the life of a young Haitian man who finds himself torn between his homeland and the country he has adopted as his new home. The story includes emotionally diverse characters such as Armand and Deb Etienne, siblings who are destined to leave Haiti, the only home they’ve ever known. The drama and tension of this story begins when readers learn that the capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince has become a graveyard, as friends and family members are killed. The people’s unrest, government corruption, and a quest for a better life bring many of today’s social “hot-buttons” into focus as this story unfolds.

The emotion and struggle will grab readers from the start and hold them until the last page. There is definitely a religious undertone that is not subtle and often becomes “preachy,” especially later on in the story. Along with a number of proofing errors, this book seemed to need a little more polish. But, overall, the story was heart-warming and the characters were believable and endearing. From the religious divergence between Protestant and Catholic to the culture shock of Haitians trying to make a life in the US, from Thomas’s critical perception of America to Monica’s selfish and greedy nature, the dramatic tension and emotional turmoil bring a familiar feeling to an age-old story line.

Policape has a unique, fresh voice that rings with authenticity, and a personal creativity that many readers will appreciate. Readers will hold their breaths as they follow along with Armand, Deborah, Phito, and others as they struggle to escape Haiti, to find the land of “milk and honey,” all while fighting with themselves and others. An enjoyable, heart-warming experience.