Edwidge Danticat | Critical Review by Joanne Omang

This literature criticism consists of approximately 2 pages of analysis & critique of Edwidge Danticat.
This section contains 414 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Review by Joanne Omang

Critical Review by Joanne Omang

SOURCE: A review of Krik? Krak! in Book World-The Washington Post, May 14, 1995, p. 4.

In the following review of Krik? Krak!, Omang observes that "Danticat seems to be overflowing with the strength and insight of generations of Haitian women."

In Haitian-American Edwidge Danticat, modern Haiti may have found its voice. "When you write," she says in an epilogue, "it's like braiding your hair," and into these nine short stories she has woven the sad with the funny, the unspeakable with the glorious, the wild horror and deep love that is Haiti today.

Only 26, Danticat seems to be overflowing with the strength and insight of generations of Haitian women. In the past under Papa Doc, in New York now and on the leaky rafts in between, she speaks through the dead and through the living and the walking wounded alike, her tone changing without apparent effort to be as various as the need.

"Children of the Sea" is virtually flawless, a heartbreaking exchange of letters never sent, never received, between a young woman and her lover as his leaky boat full of people drifts toward Miami. All the island's troubles are braided seamlessly into these letters.

Trying not to think about their prospects, the refugees tell stories: "Someone says, Krik? You answer, Krak! And they say, I have many stories I could tell you, and then they go on and tell these stories to you, but mostly to themselves." A woman who gives birth on that boat to a baby who doesn't cry reappears four stories later in "Between the Pool and the Gardenias." Her barren goddaughter, a rich family's maid half-crazed from loneliness, finds an abandoned baby on the street, another child who doesn't cry.

And the maid's grandmother is the subject of "1937," in which she is imprisoned for witchcraft, her head shaved, starving, but still able to make a statue of the Madonna cry. In "Night Women," a hard-working mother watches her son sleep and thinks of "women who sit up through the night and undo patches of cloth that they have spent the whole day weaving … so that they will always have more to do." The image of Penelope, waiting for a man, is breathtaking.

Danticat's longest tales appear to be autobiographical portraits of her family, and we can only be grateful for them. If the news from Haiti is too painful to read, read this book instead and understand the place far more deeply than you ever thought possible.

(read more)

This section contains 414 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Review by Joanne Omang