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Arriving one year after the Haitian-American's first novel (Breath, Eyes, Memory) alerted critics to her compelling voice, these 10 stories, some of which have appeared in small literary journals, confirm Danticat's reputation as a remarkably gifted writer. Examining the lives of ordinary Haitians, particularly those struggling to survive under the brutal Duvalier regime, Danticat illuminates the distance between people's desires and the stifling reality of their lives. A profound mix of Catholicism and voodoo spirituality informs the tales, bestowing a mythic importance on people described in the opening story, "Children of the Sea," as those "in this world whose names don't matter to anyone but themselves." The ceaseless grip of dictatorship often leads men to emotionally abandon their families, like the husband in "A Wall of Fire Rising," who dreams of escaping in a neighbor's hot-air balloon. The women exhibit more resilience, largely because of their insistence on finding meaning and solidarity through storytelling; but Danticat portrays these bonds with an honesty that shows that sisterhood, too, has its power plays. In the book's final piece, "Epilogue: Women Like Us," she writes: "Are there women who both cook and write? Kitchen poets, they call them. They slip phrases into their stew and wrap meaning around their pork before frying it. They make narrative dumplings and stuff their daughter's mouths so they say nothing more." The stories inform and enrich one another, as the female characters reveal a common ancestry and ties to the fictional Ville Rose. In addition to the power of Danticat's themes, the book is enhanced by an element of suspense (we're never certain, for example, if a rickety boat packed with refugees introduced in the first tale will reach the Florida coast). Spare, elegant and moving, these stories cohere into a superb collection.
Published: Random House Publishing Group on
ISBN: 9781569478028
List price: $9.99
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a friend gave me this book during rather a difficult time in my life - witnesses have said that my eyes were pointing in different directions, whatever - and what i remember appreciating most is the fact that they were short stories, so i could set the book down at regular intervals.

but. then i started reading it. and the stories, they were wonderful. touching, enigmatic (but that might not have all been the stories), and written in a crystalline style that i have always appreciated. the book never got put down for any significant length of time.more
Why did I wait so long to read this book?! This collection of short stories, focusing on Haitian women and women of Haitian descent, deftly demonstrates the social and political culture of the country. Danticat gives readers a real feel for island values and beliefs through her characters' actions and words. Some of the stories are heart-wrenching, but all of them are beautifully told. I love it when an author gets her message across without directly stating what she wants readers to know.more
This novel weaves the narrations of various female narrators from Haiti. The narrators or storyteller each have strong cultural ties to Haiti, and their narrations capture the hardships of their lives. The stories are written in dialect, which can be challenging for some readers. There are also some adult themes that may not be appropriate for a younger audience. The text is rich with symbolism, thematic meaning, and various literary devices. Can be taught as a whole novel or as individual short stories.more
Krik? Krak!, a book of short stories about Haitian women, is my favorite of Edwidge Danticat's works. Aside from the first and middle stories, men are tangential to women's lives, being portrayed only as love objects, parental figures or feared oppressors. The stories show Haitians living lives filled with beauty, love, intelligence and fear, in an environment of the most severe poverty and oppression. I would recommend it to anyone as an introduction to Danticat. Then if they could stand the mother in the last story they could move on to Breath, Eyes and Memory where her personality is multiplied by 10.more
Great collection of short stories set in Haiti and in New York City. They are all intertwined, with characters in one, also in another. Junot Diaz, Dominican Republic short story collection, follows this style.more
In the wake of the recent tragedy in Haiti, I picked this book from my shelves hoping to learn more about the island than what’s routinely published and/or reported. I believe some of the incidents in the stories relate to the author’s own experiences and/or personal observations. These tales of sadness have allowed me to see beyond the peaceful countenance prevalent on many of Danticat’s jacket cover photos. They confirm the wistfulness I thought I detected under her peaceful expression. I’m convinced this complex of emotions contributes to her skill as a writer. A “Krik? Krak!” session is a celebration of Haiti’s oral culture. The storyteller will inquire of the audience, “Krik?” (pronounced “cree”). The collective response, “Krak!” (pronounced “crock”) signals the storyteller to begin. Though some of the stories are quite depressing, I appreciate the author’s use of the playful, love-struck, parent-defying characters usually found in more light-hearted works. Writing is in Danticat’s blood; and her love for it is subtly revealed throughout this fictional collection by the connecting thread of an underlying reference to writers, journalists, tourists, etc. I was pleased at the reappearance of some of the characters in subsequent stories. It introduced a cohesiveness throughout the collection that I did not expect. I was intrigued by Danticat’s use of undated journal entries in “Children of the Sea,” a charming tale of distant lovers. It opens tenderly with an entry from the young man’s journal. He has been forced to the sea, in escape of authorities for acts of civil disobedience. The young girl is at home with her protective parents. As I read through the couple’s exchanges, I came to the understanding that their separation was merely physical. Through their journal entries, they were essentially communicating soul-to-soul. I think the author used this form to demonstrate the power of the written word on the heart.Other favorites in this collection were “New York Day Women” and “Caroline’s Wedding.” I would have liked to read about hope or promise in the epilogue. Instead it was a narration based on the prior generation’s viewpoint; and, therefore, equally depressing -- offering only doses of mother-wit and discouragement for an aspiring writer. Krik? Krak! satisfied my quest for a working knowledge of the culture, customs, and political oppression in Haiti. After viewing the author’s suggested reading list, I have potentially selected The Rainy Season: Haiti Since Duvalier by Amy Wilentz as a trusted and documented source for more information.Due to problems I have with religious differences that became apparent in this work, I recommend it with reservations. Danticat is a very talented writer. But I don’t think I want to tackle, Breath, Eyes, Memory just yet. I've begun reading The Farming of Bones which, from all appearances, will merit a more favorable review of this great young author’s talent. (1995, 224 pages, $20.00)more
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Reviews

a friend gave me this book during rather a difficult time in my life - witnesses have said that my eyes were pointing in different directions, whatever - and what i remember appreciating most is the fact that they were short stories, so i could set the book down at regular intervals.

but. then i started reading it. and the stories, they were wonderful. touching, enigmatic (but that might not have all been the stories), and written in a crystalline style that i have always appreciated. the book never got put down for any significant length of time.more
Why did I wait so long to read this book?! This collection of short stories, focusing on Haitian women and women of Haitian descent, deftly demonstrates the social and political culture of the country. Danticat gives readers a real feel for island values and beliefs through her characters' actions and words. Some of the stories are heart-wrenching, but all of them are beautifully told. I love it when an author gets her message across without directly stating what she wants readers to know.more
This novel weaves the narrations of various female narrators from Haiti. The narrators or storyteller each have strong cultural ties to Haiti, and their narrations capture the hardships of their lives. The stories are written in dialect, which can be challenging for some readers. There are also some adult themes that may not be appropriate for a younger audience. The text is rich with symbolism, thematic meaning, and various literary devices. Can be taught as a whole novel or as individual short stories.more
Krik? Krak!, a book of short stories about Haitian women, is my favorite of Edwidge Danticat's works. Aside from the first and middle stories, men are tangential to women's lives, being portrayed only as love objects, parental figures or feared oppressors. The stories show Haitians living lives filled with beauty, love, intelligence and fear, in an environment of the most severe poverty and oppression. I would recommend it to anyone as an introduction to Danticat. Then if they could stand the mother in the last story they could move on to Breath, Eyes and Memory where her personality is multiplied by 10.more
Great collection of short stories set in Haiti and in New York City. They are all intertwined, with characters in one, also in another. Junot Diaz, Dominican Republic short story collection, follows this style.more
In the wake of the recent tragedy in Haiti, I picked this book from my shelves hoping to learn more about the island than what’s routinely published and/or reported. I believe some of the incidents in the stories relate to the author’s own experiences and/or personal observations. These tales of sadness have allowed me to see beyond the peaceful countenance prevalent on many of Danticat’s jacket cover photos. They confirm the wistfulness I thought I detected under her peaceful expression. I’m convinced this complex of emotions contributes to her skill as a writer. A “Krik? Krak!” session is a celebration of Haiti’s oral culture. The storyteller will inquire of the audience, “Krik?” (pronounced “cree”). The collective response, “Krak!” (pronounced “crock”) signals the storyteller to begin. Though some of the stories are quite depressing, I appreciate the author’s use of the playful, love-struck, parent-defying characters usually found in more light-hearted works. Writing is in Danticat’s blood; and her love for it is subtly revealed throughout this fictional collection by the connecting thread of an underlying reference to writers, journalists, tourists, etc. I was pleased at the reappearance of some of the characters in subsequent stories. It introduced a cohesiveness throughout the collection that I did not expect. I was intrigued by Danticat’s use of undated journal entries in “Children of the Sea,” a charming tale of distant lovers. It opens tenderly with an entry from the young man’s journal. He has been forced to the sea, in escape of authorities for acts of civil disobedience. The young girl is at home with her protective parents. As I read through the couple’s exchanges, I came to the understanding that their separation was merely physical. Through their journal entries, they were essentially communicating soul-to-soul. I think the author used this form to demonstrate the power of the written word on the heart.Other favorites in this collection were “New York Day Women” and “Caroline’s Wedding.” I would have liked to read about hope or promise in the epilogue. Instead it was a narration based on the prior generation’s viewpoint; and, therefore, equally depressing -- offering only doses of mother-wit and discouragement for an aspiring writer. Krik? Krak! satisfied my quest for a working knowledge of the culture, customs, and political oppression in Haiti. After viewing the author’s suggested reading list, I have potentially selected The Rainy Season: Haiti Since Duvalier by Amy Wilentz as a trusted and documented source for more information.Due to problems I have with religious differences that became apparent in this work, I recommend it with reservations. Danticat is a very talented writer. But I don’t think I want to tackle, Breath, Eyes, Memory just yet. I've begun reading The Farming of Bones which, from all appearances, will merit a more favorable review of this great young author’s talent. (1995, 224 pages, $20.00)more
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