From the best-selling author of Brother, I'm Dying and The Dew Breaker: a stunning new work of fiction that brings us deep into the intertwined lives of a small seaside town where a little girl, the daughter of a fisherman, has gone missing.
Claire Limyè Lanmè - Claire of the Sea Light - is an enchanting child born into love and tragedy in Ville Rose, Haiti. Claire's mother died in childbirth, and on each of her birthdays Claire is taken by her father, Nozias, to visit her mother's grave. Nozias wonders if he should give away his young daughter to a local shopkeeper, who lost a child of her own, so that Claire can have a better life.
But on the night of Claire's seventh birthday, when at last he makes the wrenching decision to do so, she disappears. As Nozias and others look for her, painful secrets, haunting memories, and startling truths are unearthed among the community of men and women whose individual stories connect to Claire, to her parents, and to the town itself. Told with piercing lyricism and the economy of a fable, Claire of the Sea Light is a tightly woven, breathtaking tapestry that explores what it means to be a parent, child, neighbor, lover, and friend, while revealing the mysterious bonds we share with the natural world and with one another. Embracing the magic and heartbreak of ordinary life, it is Edwidge Danticat's most spellbinding, astonishing book yet.
In Claire of the Sea Light, Haiti, once again, is her own formidable character. One with a deeply capricious nature: by turns sublime, terrible, even bizarre. Through Danticat's intoxicating prose, it seems almost possible to feel the drizzle of a sun shower, taste salt in the sea air. Throughout this work as a whole, Danticat reminds us just how powerful certain moments can be, and that whether these moments are precious, tragic, wishful, or frightening, they may mysteriously lead to a life both beautiful and uncorrupted. (Reviewed by Suzanne Reeder).
In the end, this provocative fable, which plays out in a single night, delivers us back to our real worlds, safe enough but somehow touched in ways we may not fully know for days to come.
Danticat weaves her magic as we wrestle with what’s happened to Claire, and why everybody in town [has] a secret that has to do with her.
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. ... [Characters'] stories and lives flow beautifully one into another, all rendered in the luminous prose for which Danticat is known.
Her prose has the shimmering simplicity of a folk tale and the same matter-of-fact acceptance of life's cruelties and injustices...Both lyrical and cleareyed, a rare and welcome combination.
Starred Review. Danticat paints a stunning portrait of this small Haitian town, in which the equally impossible choices of life and death play out every day.
Ann Patchett, New York Times bestselling author of State of Wonder and Bel Canto
As an ardent admirer of Edwidge Danticat's writing, I opened Claire of the Sea Light as if it were a gift. My high expectations were met, and then surpassed. The story she has given us is at every turn surprising, shimmering, deft. It is a jewel - a remarkable book, as luminous as its title.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Diane S. Claire of the Sea Light Love the title of this book and the cover, even though I read it on my kindle I can see the cover on this site. This book was like a circular maze, where the prize is in the middle and you just follow in circular movements. It starts with a young... Read More
Since its independence in 1804, Haiti has struggled with lawlessness, due in large part to being a former slave nation that, after it won its independence, was left with the massive challenge of creating a stable and autonomous society while being actively isolated by the dominant trading nations of France, Britain and the USA.
Before 1804 Haiti was a French colony called St. Domingue that occupied the entire island of Hispaniola. By the 1760s it had become the most profitable colony in the Americas, with highly successful sugar and coffee industries. With this success, however, came the exploitation of African slaves. The French Revolution inspired slaves in northern St. Domingue to organize a rebellion, which began in 1791. This rebellion, known as the Haitian Revolution, lasted thirteen years. During the conflict, Spanish and British forces also intervened. After declaring victory in January 1804, Jean-Jacques Dessalines—a former slave and a leader of the Haitian army—renamed the colony Haiti and later made himself emperor.
From the author of the internationally acclaimed, award-winning The Harmony Silk Factory comes an enthralling new novel that evokes an exotic yet turbulent and often frightening time and place. Map of the Invisible World is the masterly, psychologically rich tale of three lives indelibly marked by the pasttheir own and...
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