Carnival is one of the defining events of the Haitian year, and nowhere is it celebrated with more verve than in the seaside town of Jacmel. The Haitian-American novelist Edwidge Danticat never had the opportunity to attend carnival. Thus, as an adult, she returns to Haiti, to Jacmel, to experience what she missed in childhoood. This book is an account of Danticat's trip back. This is a travel essay, but at the same time, it's so much more. After the dance is a travel narrative, a memoir, and a history, of Haiti and of the carnival. A beautifully-written homage to the carnival, the book spins out in multiple directions, telling stories, and full of descriptive imagery. This is quite a short book, and given all of the things the book tries to do, it doesn't do any of them completely. Instead, we get snatches and tidbits of histories and memories, and the book is a pleasure to read. Danticat uses Carnival and its activities as metaphors to discuss larger events and issues in her own and Haiti's past and present. This is a book one should read to get a taste of Haiti. It's not necessarily comprehensive, but it paints a brillaint picture.