After the thrilling Beverly Hills Literary Escape, we’re excited to share with you our November Book of the Month – Edwidge Danticat’s new novel Claire of The Sea Light. Ever since she stunned us with her heartbreaking short story collection, The Dewbreaker, about Haitians living precariously between the country they had to leave behind and their new, but haunted, lives as immigrants in New York, we have looked forward to each new marvel from this immensely gifted writer.
Though it is set in a seaside town peopled with characters whose lives are ineluctably steeped in ocean water, Claire of the Sea Light never romanticizes the struggles and sorrows of the people of Ville Rose. While her writing is beautiful and poetic, Danticat depicts the harsh realities of people living in a broken and impoverished country, and one, she implies throughout the novel, now facing the consequences of the even greater impending disaster of the effects of climate change. Claire of the Sea Light is a novel of intertwined narratives, tightly interwoven by their connection to Claire, the ethereal child who disappears on the night of her seventh birthday just as her widowed, impoverished father is preparing to give her away to a woman in town with more resources. As the novel travels back in time to each of Claire’s previous birthdays, we are introduced to characters whose own stories both echo and expand the central themes of love and loss, and of the bond of motherhood that may have the power to transcend even death.
As in all her previous writing, Danticat achieves in Claire of the Sea Light the creation of a world that feels fully alive and immersive, while also remaining deeply mysterious, making for a reading experience that is truly satisfying.
About the author
Edwidge Danticat was born in Haiti in 1969 and came to the United States when she was twelve years old. She graduated from Barnard College and received an M.F.A. from Brown University. She made an auspicious debut with her first novel, Breath, Eyes, Memory, and followed it with the story collection Krik? Krak!, whose National Book Award nomination made Danticat the youngest nominee ever. Since completing her MFA, Danticat has taught creative writing at the New York University and the University of Miami. She has also worked with filmmakers Patricia Benoit and Jonathan Demme, on projects on Haitian art and documentaries about Haiti. Her short stories have appeared in over 25 periodicals and have been anthologized several times. She lives in New York.
Beyond the Book