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Krik? Krak! Paperback – April 2, 1996
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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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Like her first novel, Breath, Eyes, Memory, the stories in Krik? Krak! center around the experiences of Haitian women, both in New York and still in Haiti. However, while Breath, Eyes, Memory follows Sophie from her childhood in Haiti where she lived with her Tante Atie to the death of her mother, years later, in New York and her burial back in Haiti, Krik? Krak! relates the stories of a variety of Haitian, and Haitian American women.
The first story in Krik? Krak!, “Children of the Sea,” alternates between the journals of two lovers separated by the political upheaval which characterizes life in Haiti. The unnamed teens, one in a leaky boat full of refugees fleeing a Macoute death sentence, the other, still in Port-au-Prince unwittingly protected by her father’s bribes, both realize, but deny, their personal peril. One of the so-called Radio Six rebels, the refugee keeps a journal relating the group’s desperate flight across the Sea in the forlorn hope of reaching America. As he records the death of the infant born and buried at sea along with its distraught mother, his young lover still in Haiti records the reprisals perpetrated upon those left behind. Her description of of Madan Rogers walking all over Port-au-Prince carrying her dead son’s head—the only part of him returned to her after his death at the hands of the army—is as poignant as her final realization of the sacrifices made by her parents to secure her safety after her involvement with the dissidents.
In “Epilogue: Women Like Us,” Danticat connects all the “nine hundred and ninety-nine women . . . boiling in your blood” and reiterates the danger to women inherent in writing because in “our world, writers are tortured and killed if they are men. Called lying whores, then raped and killed if they are women.” Writing, to the women of Haiti who worked so hard to make a better life for their daughters, is a useless, as well as dangerous, occupation.
Each of the stories between explores another facet of the lives, hopes, dreams, and realities of women in and from Haiti. Edwidge Danticat, herself one of those women, arrived in the United States right on time to join a vibrant community of black female authors determined to speak to and for those women of color whose voices had seldom previously been heard.