Claire of the Sea Light . New York. Knopf. 2013. isbn 9780307271792 Edwidge Danticat
Booklist Reviews 2013 June #1
In interlocking stories moving back and forth in time, Danticat weaves a beautifully rendered portrait of longing in the small fishing town of Ville Rose in Haiti. Seven-year-old Claire Faustin's mother died giving birth to her. Each year, her father, Nozias, feels the wrenching need to earn more money than poor Ville Rose can provide and to find someone to care for Claire. Gaelle Lavaud, a fabric shop owner, is a possible mother for the orphaned child, but she is haunted by her own tragic losses. Bernard, who longs to be a journalist and create a radio show that reflects the gang violence of his neighborhood, is caught in the violence himself. Max Junior returns from Miami on a surreptitious mission to visit the girl he impregnated and left years ago and to remember an unrequited love. Louise George, the raspy voice behind a gossipy radio program, is having an affair with Max Senior, head of the local school, and teaches the ethereally beautiful Claire. Their stories and their lives flow beautifully one into another, all rendered in the luminous prose for which Danticat is known. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The best-selling Danticat's (Brother, I'm Dying, 2007) return to fiction after nine years is sure to be highly anticipated Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2013 March #1
Danticat's last book, the memoir Brother, I'm Dying, was a National Book Critics Circle Award winner and a National Book Award finalist, and her fiction has won accolades, too; now this best-selling author returns to fiction for the first time in nine years. Claire Limyè Lanmè ("Claire of the Sea Light"), whose mother died in childbirth and whose fisherman father has made the wrenching decision to give her a better life by relinquishing her, goes missing just before her seventh birthday. As the entire community searches for her, secrets emerge that clarify our relationships with one another and with the natural world, even as we see the beauty and heartbreak of Haiti.[Page 55]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
LJ Reviews 2013 September #1
As a native Haitian, Danticat (Brother, I'm Dying) is known for taking an innate cultural understanding and mixing it with a spare, striking writing style, always with marvelous results. The setting for her latest is Ville Rose, a small coastal town in Haiti, where baby Claire is born as her mother dies in childbirth. The novel begins on Claire's seventh birthday and then flows back in time, revisiting previous birthdays and their parallel events. In the village, life and death coexist in heartrending fashion, and the people live with the understanding that any one of them may be instantly and forever altered by natural forces, irrational acts, or simple circumstances. As Claire's father, a poor fisherman, makes a difficult decision, personal histories converge and the village comes together both to mourn a death and to save a life. Throughout, everything seems to be driven by the mystical power of the sea, for which Claire is named. VERDICT A new offering from National Book Critics Circle Award-winning author Danticat is always cause for celebration. She has the ability to conjure up the rarified air of Haiti as she manages to pull tightly at one's heartstrings; this novel is no exception. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 2/4/13.]—Susanne Wells, Indianapolis[Page 97]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
PW Reviews 2013 May #4
In this gorgeous, arresting, and profoundly vivid new novel, Danticat once again tells a story that feels as mysterious and magical as a folk tale and as effective and devastating as a newsreel. Claire Limyè Lanmè ("Claire of the Sea Light") is turning seven, and yet her birthday has always been marked by both death and renewal. Claire's mother died in childbirth, and she has been raised by her fisherman father in a shack near the sea. The book begins there—in the shack, on the morning of her birthday—before winding back to tell the story of every previous birthday, and who lived, and died, each year. For some time, Claire's father has considered giving her to a wealthy businesswoman who lost her own daughter, and the heartbreaking question of Claire's fate adds to the novel's suspense, as both the past, and this single day, unfold. In the meantime, Danticat (Krik? Krak!) paints a stunning portrait of this small Haitian town, in which the equally impossible choices of life and death play out every day. Agent: Nicole Aragi, Nicole Aragi Agency. (Aug.)[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC