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Krik? Krak! Paperback – April 2, 1996

4.3 out of 5 stars 111 customer reviews

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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.
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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 (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,357 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition
In high school, I had the same experience that many of you had; English teachers, each year, would use the same short stories from "the canon" of English literature. From Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily" to Twain's "The Jumping Frog" to virtually anything by Poe, these stories are found throughout schools in the United States, with only small variations. Why? Well because they're classics, of course! Scholars have deemed that these stories, and the books that we can all name that accompany them, are "the best," and that every English student must know them.

Now, I'm not claiming that these stories aren't masterpieces--don't get me wrong. They are, I will agree, "classic," and they are full of brilliant examples of the power of the English language. I am, however, arguing that authors like Danticat--contemporary authors, who brilliantly present and deal with contemporary issues--are making very strong arguments as to the fact that they, too, deserve a place in contemporary English classrooms among all of the dead, white men.

In Krik? Krak!, Danticat shows readers a place that probably very few of them have ever seen--Haiti--and all of its complexities. Because this was my first piece of fiction I read about Haiti (Create Dangerously by Danticat being the only other book I had read), I was shocked by the bald, bold truth that Danticat shows us, about poverty, about family, about the United States, holding nothing back in her portrayal of "the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere" (as newspapers and essays are always so quick to remind us of Haiti). Danticat's short stories show us sides of Haiti that you can't learn from a history book, especially American history books, giving fictional names and faces to the very real struggle, perserverence, and strength of an entire nation.
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