Edwidge Danticat’s new novel reveals life’s struggles in Haiti

Edwidge Danticat’s new novel reveals life’s struggles in HaitiA new book by Edwidge Danticat always is an occasion for readers to celebrate so it is with much pleasure that her fans anticipate the release of Claire of the Sea Light (on-sale from Knopf Aug. 27), her first work of fiction in nine years.

Set in a seaside town in Haiti, Claire of the Sea Light unfolds over the course of one evening during which a father struggles with the painful decision of whether to give away his beloved daughter in the hopes she will find a better life with someone else. As this night unfolds, so do the lives, and secrets, of the men and women who live in Ville Rose.

Talking about the ideas and experiences that shaped this new book Edwidge has said, “I didn’t grow up in a nuclear family. My brother and I spent the early part of our lives with my aunt and uncle in a house full of cousins, many of whose parents like ours were not with us, because they had to go abroad to find work.

“I knew how difficult that choice was for my parents and for my friend’s parents: You keep your child with you and you both suffer, or you take a huge leap of faith and you leave your children — for a while or forever —hoping that they will have a slightly better future. I wanted to try to write about someone having to make that choice. And I wanted to show that moment of choice from three different perspectives — the parent, the child, and the potential new parent.”

The result is a book that is being hailed by fellow writers and critics alike. Author Ann Patchett writes, “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.”

In a starred review, Publishers Weekly writes, “Danticat once again tells a story that feels as mysterious and magical as a folk tale and as effective and devastating as a newsreel…Danticat paints a stunning portrait of this small Haitian town, in which the equally impossible choices of life and death play out every day.”

Danticat will be discussing and signing her new book on Tuesday, Aug 27, 8 p.m., at Books and Books, 265 Aragon Ave. in Coral Gables. She also will be returning to Miami the week of Nov. 17 for the Miami Book Fair.

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