Architecture by Moonlight is available through University of Missouri Press, Amazon, Project MUSE, and at independent book stores in the Boston area.
When a natural disaster strikes, one imposing obstacle always impedes recovery: the need to rebuild. Not just homes, schools, and other buildings but also lives must be reconstructed. Yet amid the horror there is also the opportunity to build back better, to create more resilient buildings and deeper human connections.
After Haiti’s 2010 earthquake, architect Paul E. Fallon wanted to help rebuild the magic island he had visited the previous summer. Over the next three years, he made seventeen trips to design and supervise construction of an orphanage and a school in Grand Goâve. In the process, he confronted the challenges of building in a country with sparse materials and with laborers predisposed toward magic over physics.
Architecture by Moonlight is about much more than construction, however. Readers will also experience the many relationships Fallon developed as he balanced the contradictory demands of a boisterous American family constructing a memorial for their deceased daughter and Evangelical missionaries more interested in saving souls than filling bellies. Dieunison, a wily Haitian orphan, captured Fallon’s heart and exemplifies both Haiti’s tragedy and its indomitable spirit.
Fallon’s personal experience is an eloquent tale of “an ensemble of incomplete people struggling in a land of great trial and great promise, trying to better understand their place on Earth.” He reveals how, when seemingly different people come together, we succeed by seeking our commonality. Architecture by Moonlight illustrates our strength to rise above disaster and celebrate recovery, perseverance, and humanity.
The book discussion group guide for Architecture by Moonlight is here. Contact Paul to see if he is available to join in your discussion.
February 15, 2015 Bowling Green Daily News review by Neal Downing
February 3, 2015 Bay Windows review by Irene Monroe
Paul E. Fallon spent thirty years as an architect specializing in healthcare design before the Haiti earthquake compelled him to participate in the reconstruction effort and chronicle his experience. A seasoned public speaker, he is the author of the well-read blog www.theawkwardpose.com in which he has written about his evolving connection with Haiti. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
I’ve always been awestruck with how you stepped in, stepped up and (obviously) made a positive impact in Haiti’s recovery; and I’m looking forward to October’s release of your new book!
Thanks Lisa. Funny thing about life – every time we step up, we always get more than we give. I know you have experienced that as well.
Congratulations Paul. I plan to attend one of the book signings in the next few months. See you there, Dave
While following your How Will We Live Tomorrow? blog, I learned about Architecture by Moonlight; bought and just finished reading it. As someone who has been in Haiti as a volunteer and who, if I ever got to live on this earth a second time, would try to be an architect, I enjoyed reading your personal and professional perspectives. Just mailed the book to a friend in Maine who volunteered in Haiti after the earthquake.
Thank you for your comment Jeanne. I am so glad that you enjoyed the book. I had an incredible experience in Haiti and am happy to share it with others.
Hurricane Hermine provided the opportunity to finish your excellent book. A lot of it resonated with my experiences in CAR, from our construction projects to dealing with people to sweeping the dirt. Your ability to personalize it so thoughtfully was moving. I mentioned my friends Karen and Steve Williams, who worked with Hopital Albert Schweitzer (http://old.post-gazette.com/lifestyle/20020924haiti0924p5.asp). Sounds like your trip continues smoothly. Wishing lots more good company and peaceful riding.
Thanks Alan; I am glad that you enjoyed the book and that it resonated with you. I read Song of Haiti, which describes the founding of the Schweitzer Hospital It’s an incredible, inspiring story. I never got to visit when I was in Haiti, as I was in another part fo the country.
My trip continues well – heading into Indiana today!