Announcing our Top 20 Books of 2022

Reviews of Everything Inside by Edwidge Danticat

Everything Inside

by Edwidge Danticat

Everything Inside by Edwidge Danticat X
Everything Inside by Edwidge Danticat
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Aug 2019, 240 pages

    Paperback:
    Jul 2020, 240 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Lisa Butts
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

From the internationally acclaimed, best-selling author of Brother, I'm Dying, a collection of vividly imagined stories about community, family, and love.

Rich with hard-won wisdom and humanity, set in locales from Miami and Port-au-Prince to a small unnamed country in the Caribbean and beyond, Everything Inside is at once wide in scope and intimate, as it explores the forces that pull us together, or drive us apart, sometimes in the same searing instant.

In these eight powerful, emotionally absorbing stories, a romance unexpectedly sparks between two wounded friends; a marriage ends for what seem like noble reasons, but with irreparable consequences; a young woman holds on to an impossible dream even as she fights for her survival; two lovers reunite after unimaginable tragedy, both for their country and in their lives; a baby's christening brings three generations of a family to a precarious dance between old and new; a man falls to his death in slow motion, reliving the defining moments of the life he is about to lose.

This is the indelible work of a keen observer of the human heart--a master at her best.

Dosas

Elsie was with Gaspard, her live-­in renal-­failure patient, when her ex-­husband called to inform her that his girlfriend, Olivia, had been kidnapped in Port-­au-­Prince. Elsie had just fed Gaspard some cabbage soup when her cell phone rang. Gaspard was lying in bed, his head carefully propped on two pillows, his bloated and pitted face angled toward the bedroom skylight, which allowed him a slanted view of a giant coconut palm that for years had been leaning over the lakeside house in Gaspard's single-­family development.

Elsie pressed the phone between her left ear and shoulder and used her right hand to wipe a lingering piece of cabbage from Gaspard's chin. Waving both hands as though conducting an orchestra, Gaspard signaled to her not to leave the room while motioning for her to carry on with her conversation. Turning her attention from Gaspard to the phone, Elsie moved it closer to her lips and asked, "Ki lè?"

"This morning." Sounding ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!
  • award image

    National Book Critics Circle Award
    2019

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

These are stories about the breakdown of human connections, of communication, of the body and mind. The Haitian settings are largely atmospheric—important, but hardly the most interesting aspect of the collection...If you like character-driven fiction with emotional depth and complexity, narrated by an author with a poet's linguistic sensibility, don't pass this one up...continued

Full Review (595 words).

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

(Reviewed by Lisa Butts).

Media Reviews

Kevin Chau, Lit Hub
Vast, moving, and intimate...Everything Inside explores all at once the full scope of human experience [and] tackles head on the complexity and impossibility of feeling.

Los Angeles Review of Books
Bittersweet, satisfying. Layering unsentimental, clear writing with resonant imagery, Danticat delivers elegant gut-punches of irony. How can and should the artist, the writer, and the privileged among us respond creatively to another’s suffering? How do we appropriately witness someone else’s pain? This is existentialist fiction: our full essence — everything inside — is not manifest until the moment of death. Everything Inside is [a] hallmark of Danticat’s mastery of prose—of the way she coaxes beauty from pain

New York Times - Aminatta Forna
[A] beautiful book, which ends with the tender description of the final thoughts of a dying Haitian refugee — of “the airless sensation of his body” and of his love for his wife and child.

NPR - Michael Schaub
Danticat's writing is, as usual, superb. There are no wasted words in Everything Inside; she writes with both economy and urgency, never resorting to glib aphorisms and never shying away from difficult questions. It's an immensely rewarding collection: The reader feels connected to Danticat's characters, but she refuses to manipulate her audience with anything mawkish or overly pat.

O, the Oprah Magazine
Haunting, profound—an answered prayer for those who have long treasured Danticat’s essential contributions to the Caribbean literary canon. These eight intimate tales, centered primarily around the diverse experiences of women in Port-au-Prince and Miami’s Haitian diaspora, probe what it means to love a deeply troubled country, to leave it, and to then come home. Danticat’s characters feel not like strangers, but close friends. How does an artist write so deftly from the outside about people’s interior lives? Everything Inside is an answer to that question: This remarkable writer shows us how.

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Extraordinary: spare, evocative, moving. Danticat tackles the complexities of diaspora with lyrical grace. This collection draws on her exceptional strengths as a storyteller...She asks her readers to witness the integrity of her subjects as they excavate beauty and hope from uncertainty and loss.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)
[O]utstanding and deeply memorable...In plain, propulsive prose, and with great compassion, Danticat writes both of her characters' losses and of their determination to continue: 'There are loves that outlive lovers.'

Terry Hong, Booklist (starred review)
Haunting...Danticat once again urges readers out of comfort zones to bear witness to urgent topics—and alchemizes sorrows and tragedies into opportunities for enlightenment.

Reader Reviews

Phyllis Stern

Moving and Absorbing Tales of Death and Renewal
Edwige Danticat in these delicately told stories faces head on the lives of immigrants from Haiti facing hardship there and here, people between two cultures, the high price of compassion. She tells the hard stories we need to hear, without political...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Little Haiti

Everything InsideSeveral stories in Edwidge Danticat's Everything Inside take place in Florida's Little Haiti neighborhood, a popular residence for Haitian immigrants and exiles (along with individuals from other Caribbean nations) located in Miami Dade County. The neighborhood has a population of 28,000 people, with 73 percent identifying as Black and 20 percent as Hispanic. Forty-one percent of the neighborhood's residents were born outside the United States. As a whole, Miami Dade County is home to the largest population of Haitians in the nation.

Originally called Lemon City, Little Haiti was settled shortly after the Civil War by homesteaders. Haitians began arriving to the area in droves in the 1960s and 70s, fleeing the brutal dictatorship of ...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Read-alikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by Edwidge Danticat

If you liked Everything Inside, try these:

  • Nobody's Magic jacket

    Nobody's Magic

    by Destiny O. Birdsong

    Published 2023

    About this book

    In this glittering triptych novel, Suzette, Maple and Agnes, three Black women with albinism, call Shreveport, Louisiana home. At the bustling crossroads of the American South and Southwest, these three women find themselves at the crossroads of their own lives.

  • The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World jacket

    The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World

    by Laura Imai Messina

    Published 2022

    About this book

    The international bestselling novel sold in 21 countries, about grief, mourning, and the joy of survival, inspired by a real phone booth in Japan with its disconnected "wind" phone, a place of pilgrimage and solace since the 2011 tsunami.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search read-alikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join and Save 20%!

Become a member and
discover exceptional books.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket
    Bewilderment
    by Richard Powers
    In 2019, Richard Powers won the Pulitzer Prize for The Overstory, a sprawling novel whose characters...
  • Book Jacket: I'm the Girl
    I'm the Girl
    by Courtney Summers
    YA author Courtney Summers doesn't believe in shielding her teenage readers from the world's darkest...
  • Book Jacket: They're Going to Love You
    They're Going to Love You
    by Meg Howrey
    Teenage Carlisle lives with her mother in Ohio, but their relationship has never felt particularly ...
  • Book Jacket: The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
    The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
    by Isaac Blum
    That irreplaceable feeling of everyone knowing your name. The yearning to be anonymous. Parents ...

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Natural History
    by Andrea Barrett

    A masterful new collection of interconnected stories, from the renowned National Book Award–winning author.

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

W N, W Not

and be entered to win..

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
Cradles of the Reich
by Jennifer Coburn
Three women, a nation seduced by a madman, and the Nazi breeding program to create a so-called master race.
Who Said...

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who divide the world into two kinds of people, and those who don'...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.