Krik? Krak!

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Krik? Krak!

by Edwidge Danticat

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group | April 2, 1996 | Trade Paperback

Krik? Krak! is rated 4.5 out of 5 by 2.
When Haitians tell a story, they say "Krik?" and the eager listeners answer "Krak!" In Krik? Krak! In her second novel, Edwidge Danticat establishes herself as the latest heir to that narrative tradition with nine stories that encompass both the cruelties and the high ideals of Haitian life. They tell of women who continue loving behind prison walls and in the face of unfathomable loss; of a people who resist the brutality of their rulers through the powers of imagination. The result is a collection that outrages, saddens, and transports the reader with its sheer beauty.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 240 pages, 7.99 × 5.18 × 0.61 in

Published: April 2, 1996

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 067976657X

ISBN - 13: 9780679766575

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Intriguing I studied this work in a short story class. It was absolutely saturated with imagery, and I've never read emotion the way I did with Danticat's collection. A definite recommendation if you want to feel.
Date published: 2007-10-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredibly Moving! This volume of short-stories is a must-read for anyone who wants to go beyond the headlines of Haiti's tragic history, and develop a further understanding of the emotional cost for ordinary Haitians. Edwidge Danticat is an incredibly talented young writer. In "Krik? Krak!" she explores mother-daughter relationships and the power of story-telling using beautiful and poignant language. I read this book as part of a university English course on Caribbean fiction, and I remember some of my fellow students saying how they couldn't stand to analyze Danticat's work because its strength lies in its emotional impact. It is definitely one of my all-time favourite books. I cannot recommend this book enough!
Date published: 2006-06-16

– More About This Product –

Krik? Krak!

by Edwidge Danticat

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 240 pages, 7.99 × 5.18 × 0.61 in

Published: April 2, 1996

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 067976657X

ISBN - 13: 9780679766575

Table of Contents

Children of the Sea
Nineteen Thirty-Seven
A Wall of Fire Rising
Night Women
Between the Pool and the Gardenias
The Missing Peace
Seeing Things Simply
New York Day Women
Caroline''s Wedding
Epilogue: Women Like Us

From the Publisher

When Haitians tell a story, they say "Krik?" and the eager listeners answer "Krak!" In Krik? Krak! In her second novel, Edwidge Danticat establishes herself as the latest heir to that narrative tradition with nine stories that encompass both the cruelties and the high ideals of Haitian life. They tell of women who continue loving behind prison walls and in the face of unfathomable loss; of a people who resist the brutality of their rulers through the powers of imagination. The result is a collection that outrages, saddens, and transports the reader with its sheer beauty.

From the Jacket

When Haitians tell a story, they say "Krik?" and the eager listeners answer "Krak!" In Krik? Krak! In her second novel, Edwidge Danticat establishes herself as the latest heir to that narrative tradition with nine stories that encompass both the cruelties and the high ideals of Haitian life. They tell of women who continue loving behind prison walls and in the face of unfathomable loss; of a people who resist the brutality of their rulers through the powers of imagination. The result is a collection that outrages, saddens, and transports the reader with its sheer beauty.

About the Author

Since the publication of her debut work Breath, Eyes, Memory in 1994, Edwidge Danticat has won praise as one of America''s brightest, most graceful and vibrant young writers.  In this novel, and in her National Book Award-nominated collection of stories, Krik? Krak! , Danticat evokes the powerful imagination and rich narrative tradition of her native Haiti, and in the process records the suffering, triumphs, and wisdom of its people.  Author Paule Marshall has said of Danticat, "A silenced Haiti has once again found its literary voice." Born in Haiti in 1969, Danticat, like the protagonist of her novel Breath, Eyes, Memory , at the age of twelve left her birthplace for New York to reunite with her parents.  She earned a degree in French Literature from Barnard College, where she won the 1995 Woman of Achievement Award, and later an MFA from Brown University.  More recently, she has received an ongoing grant from the Lila Wallace-Reader''s Digest Foundation. Critical acclaim and awards for her first novel included a Granta Regional Award for the Best Young American Novelists, a Pushcart Prize and fiction awards from Essence and Seventeen magazines.  She was chosen by Harper''s Bazaar as one of 20 people in their twenties who will make a difference, and was featured in a New York Times Magazine article that named "30 Under 30" creative people to watch.  This winter, Jane magazine named her one of th
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From Our Editors

Tragic, sometimes horrifying, yet so beautifully told that they leave the reader breathless, these nine stories of life in Haiti under dictatorships reveals the linkage of generations of Haitian women through the magical tradition of storytelling. A National Book Award Finalist

Bookclub Guide

A Conversation with Edwidge Danticat

Q: Why did you decide to write BREATH, EYES,
MEMORY?

A: I started Breath, Eyes, Memory when I was still in
high school after writing an article for a New York City
teen newspaper about my leaving Haiti and coming to
the United States as a child. After the article was done I
felt there was more to the story, so I decided to write a
short story about a young girl who leaves Haiti to come
to the United States to be reunited with her mother, who
she doesn’t really know. The story just grew and grew
and as it grew I began to weave more and more
fictional elements into it and added some themes that
concerned me.

Q: What would you say those themes are?

A: One of the most important themes is migration, the
separation of families, and how much that affects the
parents and children who live through that experience.
My father left Haiti to come to New York seeking a
better life--economically and politically-- when I was
only two years old, and my mother when I was four
years old. I was raised by my aunt and uncle, and even
though I understood, I think, early on the great sacrifices
that my parents were making, I still missed them very
much. But having formed parental-type relationships
with my aunt and uncle, I was really torn and
heartbroken when I had to leave them to be reunited
with my parents in New York. So I wanted to deal with
that from the point of view of a child who’s faced with
this situation. I wanted to include some of the political
realities of Haiti--as a young girl felt and interpreted
them--and how that affected ordinary people, the way
that people tried to carry on their daily lives even under
a dictatorship or post-dictatorship. Finally, I wanted to
deal with mother-daughter relationships and the way
that mothers sometimes attempt to make themselves
the guardians of their daughter’s sexuality.

Q: Do you think that the mothers’ concern with
their daughters’ sexuality, the concern for
virginity as expressed in the book, is something
that is particularly and singularly Haitian?

A: Oh no. Not at all. The "testing" in the book for
example, goes back to the Virgin Mary. If you look at
the apocryphal gospels, after the Virgin Mary gives
birth to the Christ child, a midwife comes and tries to
test her virginity by insertion, if you can imagine. The
family in the book was never meant to be a "typical"
Haitian family, if there is ever a typical family in any
culture. The family is very much Haitian, but they live
their own internal and individual matriarchal reality and
they worship the Virgin Mary and the Haitian goddess
Erzulie in many interesting forms. The essential thing to
all the mothers in the book is to try, in their own way, to
be the best mothers they can be, given their
circumstances, because they want their daughters to
go further in life than they did themselves.

Q: What was it like for you to come to the United
States as a child?

A: It was all so very different. I didn’t speak the
language. I felt very lost and I withdrew into myself,
became much more shy than I already was. I sought
solace in books, read a lot, and kept journals written in
fragmented Creole, French, and English. I think it’s very
difficult for every child who comes here from another
culture. I tried to deal with some of these adjustment
issues in the book: the whole idea of learning another
language and getting used to a completely new
environment. Part of the reason that Breath, Eyes,
Memory is told in these four fragments is that Sophie,
the narrator, is a recent speaker of English, and in
telling a story in English she would definitely try to be
economical with her words. Her voice would have less
novelistic artifice, for example. She would mostly get to
the important events, right to the point. She would also
get some things wrong, sometimes, but it would all
come back to the story, what she wants to tell you.

Q: How much of your book is autobiographical?

A: The book is more emotionally autobiographical than
anything else. It’s a collage of fictional and real-life
events and people. To quote a wonderful
Haitian-American writer who came before me, a man
named Assotto Saint, "I wanted to write a carefree
poem / for my childhood / lost too fast... / somewhere in
the air / between port-au-prince & new york city." But I
also wanted to tell a story in the very basic sense of the
word, create a narrative that would keep you interested
in the lives of the characters.

Q: Why do you write in English and not in French
or Creole?

A: I came to the United States at an interesting time in
my life, at twelve years old, on the cusp of adolescence.
I think if we had moved to Spain, I probably would have
written in Spanish. My primary language was Haitian
Creole, which at the time that I was in school in Haiti
was not taught in a consistent written form. My
instruction was done in French, which I only spoke in
school and not at home. When I came here I was
completely between languages. It’s not unusual for me
to run into young people, for example, who have been
here for a year and stutter through both their primary
language and English because the new language is
settling into them in a very obvious way. I came to
English at a time when I was not adept enough at
French to write creatively in French and did not know
how to write in Creole because it had not been taught
to me in school, so my writing in English was as much
an act of personal translation as it was an act of
creative collaboration with the new place I was in. My
writing in English is a consequence of my migration, in
the same way that immigrant children speaking to each
other in English is a consequence of their migration.

Q: How often do you go back to Haiti?

A: I go back as often as I can. For family visits and
other things. I still have a lot of family in Haiti and going
back is often linked to family affairs.

Q: Do you think about being a role model, a
representative for your culture?

A: I come from a very rich, strong, proud, and varied
culture. There are so many aspects to Haitian culture
that one person could not ever ever represent them all,
and humbly and respectfully I don’t believe that this task
is mine. I’m a weaver a tales. I tell stories. Speaking on
national culture, Frantz Fanon says that "Each
generation must out of relative obscurity discover its
mission, fulfill it, or betray it." I’m simply trying to fulfill
mine. What I do is neither sociology, nor anthropology,
nor history. I think artists have to be allowed to be just
that: people who create, who make things up. However,
as Ralph Ellison writes at the end of Invisible Man,
"Who knows but that, on the lower frequencies, I speak
for you?" I hope to speak for the individuals who might
identify with the stories I tell. However, I think it would be
disrespectful of me to reduce the expression of an
entire culture to one voice, whether that voice be mine
or any other individual’s. There are many great and
powerful role models and representatives in Haitian
life. There are millions and millions of Haitian voices.
Mine is only one. My greatest hope is that mine
becomes one voice in a giant chorus that is trying to
understand and express artistically what it’s like to be a
Haitian immigrant in the United States.



About the Author

Since the publication of her debut work Breath, Eyes,
Memory in 1994, Edwidge Danticat has won praise as
one of America’s brightest, most graceful and vibrant
young writers. In this novel, and in her National Book
Award-nominated collection of stories, Krik? Krak!,
Danticat evokes the powerful imagination and rich
narrative tradition of her native Haiti, and in the process
records the suffering, triumphs, and wisdom of its
people. Author Paule Marshall has said of Danticat, "A
silenced Haiti has once again found its literary voice."

Born in Haiti in 1969, Danticat, like the protagonist of
her novel Breath, Eyes, Memory, at the age of twelve
left her birthplace for New York to reunite with her
parents. She earned a degree in French Literature
from Barnard College, where she won the 1995
Woman of Achievement Award, and later an MFA from
Brown University. More recently, she has received an
ongoing grant from the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest
Foundation.

Critical acclaim and awards for her first novel included
a Granta Regional Award for the Best Young American
Novelists, a Pushcart Prize and fiction awards from
Essence and Seventeen magazines. She was
chosen by Harper’s Bazaar as one of 20 people in
their twenties who will make a difference, and was
featured in a New York Times Magazine article that
named "30 Under 30" creative people to watch. This
winter, Jane magazine named her one of the "15
Gutsiest Women of the Year."

Danticat’s second novel, The Farming of Bones,
based upon the 1937 massacre of Haitians at the
border of the Dominican Republic, will be published in
September 1998 by Soho Press.
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