A New York Times and Washington Post Notable Book of the Year, an NPR "Great Read," and a Library Journal Top Book
From the best-selling author of Brother, I’m Dying and The Dew Breaker: a stunning new work of fiction that brings us deep into the intertwined lives of a small seaside town where a little girl, the daughter of a fisherman, has gone missing.
Claire Limyè Lanmè—Claire of the Sea Light—is an enchanting child born into love and tragedy in Ville Rose, Haiti. Claire’s mother died in childbirth, and on each of her birthdays Claire is taken by her father, Nozias, to visit her mother’s grave. Nozias wonders if he should give away his young daughter to a local shopkeeper, who lost a child of her own, so that Claire can have a better life.
But on the night of Claire’s seventh birthday, when at last he makes the wrenching decision to do so, she disappears. As Nozias and others look for her, painful secrets, haunting memories, and startling truths are unearthed among the community of men and women whose individual stories connect to Claire, to her parents, and to the town itself. Told with piercing lyricism and the economy of a fable, Claire of the Sea Light is a tightly woven, breathtaking tapestry that explores what it means to be a parent, child, neighbor, lover, and friend, while revealing the mysterious bonds we share with the natural world and with one another. Embracing the magic and heartbreak of ordinary life, it is Edwidge Danticat’s most spellbinding, astonishing book yet.
About the Author
Edwidge Danticat is the author of numerous books, including Brother, I’m Dying, a National Book Critics Circle Award winner and National Book Award finalist; Breath, Eyes, Memory, an Oprah Book Club selection; Krik? Krak!, a National Book Award finalist; The Farming of Bones, an American Book Award winner; and The Dew Breaker, a PEN/Faulkner Award finalist and winner of the inaugural Story Prize. The recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, she has been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and elsewhere. She lives in Miami.
Praise for Claire of the Sea Light…
“Fiercely beautiful. . . . Brims with enchantments and surprises.” —Los Angeles Times
“Luminous. . . . Danticat’s determination to face both light and dark brings the story to life. But her skill as a writer makes the balancing act a pure pleasure to read. . . . [She] is a beautiful storyteller.” —The Miami Herald
“Danticat has created a pulsing world. . . . On these pages, the human heart is laid open and the secret contents of its chambers revealed in all their beauty and agony. . . . Haunting.” —O, The Oprah Magazine
“Hypnotic. . . . Danticat creates rich and varied interior lives for her characters. . . . Heartbreaking.” —The New York Times Book Review
“A revealing portrait that mixes a touch of magic with the tough reality of life in Haiti.” —NPR
“Haunting. . . . Writing with lyrical economy and precision, Ms. Danticat recounts her characters’ stories in crystalline prose that underscores the parallels in their lives.” —The New York Times
“Vivid and intensely personal. . . . Danticat has been fixing and unfixing her native country since the appearance of her first book. . . . She is a writer . . . inhabited, a writer dedicated to opening her reader’s eyes to something she keeps trying to see for herself.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“The biggest questions of life flow from the pen of this brilliant novelist. In Claire of the Sea Light, Danticat folds the story into a package so preciously tight that we can tuck it in our hearts and keep it close and warm.” —Nikki Giovanni
“[Has] the feel of a fairy tale. But its ethereal qualities are offset by its stark portrayal of life in small-town Haiti; the combination makes for a lovely book.” — New York magazine
“Danticat’s language is unadorned, but she uses it to forge intricate connections. . . . The dexterity of her sympathy is an even match for her unflinching vision.” —The Boston Globe
“In a voice tuned to the frequency of sorrow, with a calmness that neither apologizes nor inflames, [Danticat] lays out the terrible choice that many in Haiti have faced: Keep a child in deepest poverty or offer the child to someone with better prospects. . . . A remarkably well-plotted combination of mystery and social critique.” —The Miami Herald
“Danticat has a way of making small lives tell big stories. . . . The stories of the inhabitants of Ville Rose fold into one another in surprising ways; social barriers exist but are constantly transgressed—sometimes violently, sometimes with compassion and mutual understanding.” —Kaiama L. Glover, Public Books
“[An] extraordinary talent in full flower . . . . There’s a Faulknerian quality to Claire of the Sea Light . . . showing how human stories and lives ramify through and across each other in ways both touching and tragic.” —The Huffington Post
“Haunted by ghosts and grief, lifted by magic and love. . . . Danticat paints each of her characters and their town with vivid detail and lyrical language. . . . [Claire of the Sea Light] is lit with its own inextinguishable glow.” —Tampa Bay Times
“It’s the core human struggles that make it impossible to put the novel down. . . . [Danticat] brilliantly sheds light on an array of human issues with sexuality, identity, politics, class. . . . A heartfelt journey.” —New York Daily News
“Beautiful. . . . As usual, Danticat’s sentences are sedate, graceful and unpretentious.” —The Dallas Morning News
“Masterful. . . . With Claire of the Sea Light, Danticat stuns us again.” —Harvard Review