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Krik? Krak! Paperback – April 2, 1996


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (April 2, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067976657X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679766575
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,086 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Danticat's collection of stories detailing daily life under dictatorship in Haiti was a finalist for the National Book Award.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

YA?Danticat, born under Haitian dictatorship, moved to the U.S. 12 years ago. Many of the stories in this moving collection reflect the misery she has observed from afar and leave readers with a deep sadness for her native country. Survivors at sea in a too-small, leaky boat endure any indignity for the chance at escape. Selections about those remaining in Haiti have a dreamlike quality. A woman must watch her mother rot in prison for political crimes. A young father longs so much to fly that he gives his life for a few moments in the air. A prostitute plies her trade while her son sleeps. "New York Day Women" shows what life might be like in the U.S. for immigrants without resources. Through unencumbered prose, the author explores the effects of politics on people and especially the consequences of oppression on women, the themes of which figure into each of these vignettes.?Ginny Ryder, Lee High School, Springfield, VA
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Also, the vocabulary and the way the stories were writen make a quick book to read.
Cynthia
Each short story in this book is an example of such a rich oral tradition and is a very convincing glimpse into the lives of some Haitians and Haitian-Americans.
"neeterskeeter27"
These stories show a spectrum of adaptation to US culture and how they are able to blend their own cultural identities with western norms.
forkdora

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 44 people found the following review helpful By "neeterskeeter27" on January 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
The first thing that came to my mind while reading Edwidge Danticat's collection Krik? Krak! is that it is pure poetry. The first lines in "Children of the Sea", the first short story in the collection, are "They say behind the mountains are more mountains. Now I know it's true. I also know there are timeless waters, endless seas, and lots of people in this world whose names don't matter to anyone but themselves." The lyrical poetic style is consistent throughout all of Danticat's prose, which makes Krik? Krak! an easy and beautiful book to read despite the heavy issues addressed in each story within it. In Haiti a story-teller will say "Krik?" and anyone wishing to hear the story answers, "Krak!" and this is the basis for many of the stories Danticat writes.
And many important themes are dealt with in these deceptively simple stories. Most of them encompass three main issues: Poverty and hard times in Haiti, mother and daughter relationships and the self-awareness brought to each because of them, and the transition of immigrants. In Haiti a story-teller will say "Krik?" and anyone wishing to hear the story answers, "Krak!" and this is the basis for many of the stories Danticat writes. Although each story can be easily summarized, the underlying theme and unexpected conclusions reveal much more about life, especially a life of poverty and despair.
In "Children of the Sea", a young man on a ship from Haiti to the US writes letters to his girlfriend and Haiti and she writes letters to him, although they cannot send them to each other. In "Nineteen Thirty-Seven", a girl visits her mother, who is in prison for being accused of witch-craft.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Jenny J.J.I. VINE VOICE on February 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
Krik! Krak! Edwidge Dandicat's second stroke of genius (the first being Breath, Eyes, Memory), takes readers through the terrors and triumphs of Haitian life with nine short stories. In Haitian folklore, storytellers say Krik! to alert listeners that a story is about to be told. Krak! is the response of listeners alerting the storyteller that they want a good tale told.

Dandicat not only captures the essence of Haiti, but the deeper levels of the human spirit with her trademark lyrical prose. A doomed refugee adrift on a cruel sea, a knowing prostitute and a frustrated father battling with the truth of his own dismal future are among the most memorable characters. Reading Danticat's splendid collection of stories gives you access to a world of people and places that you will grow to love. With tragic characters, subtle images of beauty and hope, and gestures that are never overdone.

Danticat's writing accomplishes the greatest task of any short story writer; she lets you empathize with her characters and walk around in their shoes. These stories are good for the heart. In a time when book stores' shelves groan beneath the weight of "girlfriend fiction," Dandicat's work is a refreshing reminder that good literature is not dead!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Sarah G. Partridge on May 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is the kind of book that is too short and is too hard to find---its precious. The writing combines real-life experience with folklore and spiritual beliefs in a way that is breathtaking and fully believeable.
I read the first book--Breath, Eyes, Memory and was a bit disappointed after it got rave reviews that it wasn't more like this. This book is brilliant and it deserves comparison with Jean Rhys, Toni Morrison, Jamaica Kincaid, Alice Walker and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Probably one of the best books by an American writer in the last 5 years.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By LMA on April 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
I picked Krik? Krak? from a bookshelf at the guest house in Port-au-Prince where I was staying just to kill some time before friends came to get me. However, 2 hours later, I had devoured it from cover to cover. The most amazing story is "Children of the Sea" and it proceeds from there to tell the history of a family, through short stories that connect Haiti, the US and all people. Friends I have lent this book to, agree. All of Edwidge Danticat's work is incredible.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Bill Chance on August 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
The stories in this collection succeed on two levels.
First, they transport you to a place you haven't been, the horror and terror of poverty-stricken Haiti.
Second, there is an arc to the collection as a whole. The stories taken together aren't as grim or horrifying as each one by itself. Together they tell of strength and perseverance in the face of difficulties and long odds.
Some of the stories are a little ragged, but the book in total is a riveting read.
Bill Chance
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Katrina E. Dillon on May 14, 2013
Format: Paperback
There is no question that Krik? Krak!'s short stories are gritty. Danticat doesn't hold back any punches as she gives us a glimpse into the reality of Haitian life through the nine short stories included here. Her prose is both beautiful and simple--it's part of the genius of her work. The clarity and subtlety of her writing stands in stark contrast to the heaviness of what her stories share. Rarely can an author translate such depths of emotion and paint such lasting images, much less in the span of a short story, as Danticat does.

The power of these stories is found in their examination of the lives of ordinary Haitians trying to survive the brutality of both of the Duvalier regimes. Taking place in Port au Prince, the fictional Ville Rose, and New York City, the majority of her stories focus on the lives of individual women. They force us to acknowledge both the plight and the unending strength of these Haitian women. They are a testament both to the survival and the depravity of the human spirit. Poverty, hunger, corruption, and torture are depicted alongside resiliency, faith, dignity, and hope. As we become familiar with Danticat's characters, moved and pained by the seemingly increasing distance between their hopes and their lived reality, we are forced to realize that it is the actions of other humans that have created such painful experiences. Not all of Danticat's characters survive; in fact, many do not. But what continues to remain is the spirit of hope, the determination to hold on to what it really means to be Haitian, even after one has escaped to the United States. Quite creatively, Danticat weaves a more circular connection among the female characters of her stories, alluding to related lineages.
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More About the Author

Edwidge Danticat was born in Haiti in 1969 and came to the United States when she was twelve years old. She graduated from Barnard College and received an M.F.A. from Brown University. She made an auspicious debut with her first novel, Breath, Eyes, Memory, and followed it with the story collection Krik? Krak!, whose National Book Award nomination made Danticat the youngest nominee ever. She lives in New York.

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