Krik? Krak!

( 74 )

Overview

Nine powerful stories about life under Haiti's dictatorships: the terrorism of the Tonton Macoutes; the slaughtering of hope and the resiliency of love; about those who fled to America to give their children a better life and those who stayed behind in the villages; about the linkages of generations of women through the magical tradition of storytelling.

A Haitian-American writer of subtle power and great beauty presents a collection of intimate stories about the raw...

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Overview

Nine powerful stories about life under Haiti's dictatorships: the terrorism of the Tonton Macoutes; the slaughtering of hope and the resiliency of love; about those who fled to America to give their children a better life and those who stayed behind in the villages; about the linkages of generations of women through the magical tradition of storytelling.

A Haitian-American writer of subtle power and great beauty presents a collection of intimate stories about the raw longings of people for some chance at peace and happiness for themselves and their imprisoned society, about existences contorted by forced separation, and of personal lives shot through with terror.

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Editorial Reviews

Tina McElroy Ansa
What beautifully powerful language. What a brilliant storyteller. Edwidge Danticat is a writer of subtlety and grace. She writes with such honesty, beauty and truth. Her stories can be breathtaking, disturbing, moving, her language lyrical. A stunning collection.
Black College Today
Walter Mosley
Edwidge Danticat's strong and unique voice speaks in the language of hearts. She knows the dreams and hidden thoughts of her characters, and her readers. She takes us traveling down a river of blood. That river sings in our veins.
Black College Today
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Arriving one year after the Haitian-American's first novel Breath, Eyes, Memory alerted critics to her compelling voice, these 10 stories, some of which have appeared in small literary journals, confirm Danticat's reputation as a remarkably gifted writer. Examining the lives of ordinary Haitians, particularly those struggling to survive under the brutal Duvalier regime, Danticat illuminates the distance between people's desires and the stifling reality of their lives. A profound mix of Catholicism and voodoo spirituality informs the tales, bestowing a mythic importance on people described in the opening story, ``Children of the Sea,'' as those ``in this world whose names don't matter to anyone but themselves.'' The ceaseless grip of dictatorship often leads men to emotionally abandon their families-like the husband in ``A Wall of Fire Rising,'' who dreams of escaping in a neighbor's hot-air balloon. The women exhibit more resilience, largely because of their insistence on finding meaning and solidarity through storytelling; but Danticat portrays these bonds with an honesty that shows that sisterhood, too, has its power plays. In the book's final piece, ``Epilogue: Women Like Us,'' she writes: ``Are there women who both cook and write? Kitchen poets, they call them. They slip phrases into their stew and wrap meaning around their pork before frying it. They make narrative dumplings and stuff their daughter's mouths so they say nothing more.'' The stories inform and enrich one another, as the female characters reveal a common ancestry and ties to the fictional Ville Rose. In addition to the power of Danticat's themes, the book is enhanced by an element of suspense we're never certain, for example, if a rickety boat packed with refugees introduced in the first tale will reach the Florida coast. Spare, elegant and moving, these stories cohere into a superb collection. Apr.
Library Journal
This collection of previously published but interrelated short stories presents the harsh reality of daily Haitian life under a state-approved terrorist regime. Despite the harshness, Danticat beautifully balances the poverty, despair, and brutality her characters endure with magic and myth. For many characters, she also explores the inevitable clash between traditions of Haitian home life and a new American culture. Principally mothers and daughters confront each other in these cultural and intergenerational wars, wars that would be emotionally devastating were it not for the indomitable presence of love. This theme is treated best in the work's longest piece "Caroline's Wedding." krik? krak! is Danticat's second publishing venture and second triumph folowing her well-received first novel Breath, Eyes, Memory LJ 3/15/94. Highly recommended.-Faye A. Chadwell, Univ. of Oregon, Eugene
Library Journal

A good story will stand the test of time, and such is the case with this recording, a collection of nine interwoven yet distinctly different stories of the Haitian experience. First published in 1995, Krik? Krak!will resonate with listeners today as the horrors described from Haiti's past parallel current headlines emanating from other parts of the world. Poverty, hunger, corruption, and torture are depicted alongside resilience, faith, dignity, and hope. The opening story, "Children of the Sea," is a heart-wrenching saga captured in diaries kept by two lovers who find themselves tragically separated. Through the daily entries, Danticat (Brother, I'm Dying) paints a vivid and memorable picture of both the hardships and suffering of those living in her native Haiti and the perils faced by those who tried to escape the brutality of the Duvalier regime. "A Wall of Fire Rising" is much more subtle but no less memorable in capturing the intensity of one man's desire for freedom from oppression. Throughout the nine tales, Danticat's strong female characters help weave the stories into a cohesive whole by referring back to characters we've previously met. Though bleak in the beginning, the book offers glimmers of hope as the characters' awareness of their underlying strengths are revealed. Narrators Robin Miles and Dion Graham move easily among multiple Haitian and American accents. That said, one's reaction to each story seems as much tied to the voice chosen for each character by the narrators as to Danticat's spare and emotional prose. Recommended for public libraries.
—Valerie Piechocki

School Library Journal
YA-Danticat, born under Haitian dictatorship, moved to the U.S. 12 years ago. Many of the stories in this moving collection reflect the misery she has observed from afar and leave readers with a deep sadness for her native country. Survivors at sea in a too-small, leaky boat endure any indignity for the chance at escape. Selections about those remaining in Haiti have a dreamlike quality. A woman must watch her mother rot in prison for political crimes. A young father longs so much to fly that he gives his life for a few moments in the air. A prostitute plies her trade while her son sleeps. ``New York Day Women'' shows what life might be like in the U.S. for immigrants without resources. Through unencumbered prose, the author explores the effects of politics on people and especially the consequences of oppression on women, the themes of which figure into each of these vignettes.-Ginny Ryder, Lee High School, Springfield, VA
Sacred Fire
When Haitian storytellers get ready to tell a story, they say "Krik?" Their eager listeners respond, "Krak!" With Krik? Krak! Edwidge Danticat established herself as a superior storyteller within and without Haiti's narrative tradition. Krik? Krak! reveals the wonder, terror, and pain of Danticat's native Haiti and the enduring strength of Haitian women. Danticat writes about the terrorism of the Tonton Macoutes; the death of hope and the resiliency of love; the Haitians who fled to America to give their children a better life, as her parents did; and the bridge to the past through the tradition of story-telling.

The first seven stories are about chaotic life under political oppression and poverty in Haiti, and the imaginative strategies devised by Haitians to maintain their ideals and hopes in the face of unfathomable hardship. The powerful first story, "Children 0f the Sea," sets the tone for the Haitian stories. It is a moving series of diary entries from alternating narrators: a young man fleeing Haiti on a dilapidated boat and his girlfriend back on the island. who is living in fear of her life and of his. The last two stories, based in New York City, demonstrate how even after leaving their homeland, Danticat's Haitian characters cling to their heritage while trying to adapt to a new land and a new set of opportunities.

The stories are about people who embrace mythic powers and rites of passage and people who long for peace and happiness for themselves and their country. Danticat captured reader and reviewers with her passion and lyrical writing in what she refers to as her distant third language. A finalist for the National Book Award and Danticat's second book, Krik? Krak! is full of vibrant imagery and grace that bear witness to the Haitian people's suffering and courage.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679766575
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/28/1996
  • Series: Vintage Contemporaries Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 79,415
  • Lexile: 880L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.17 (w) x 7.99 (h) x 0.65 (d)

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
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 74 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(23)

4 Star

(44)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(0)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 74 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2007

    Yeah, review is late... sorry.

    Alright, i'll admit it I wasn't one of the students who had read this book when I was supposed to. I did get around to reading this book completely and I must say that it is a magnificent book! I really enjoyed that there were different stories speaking of one specific theme, also how they all seemed to be connected some how. It showed me how much more worth it is to acomplish something after alot of hard work. The Haitians went through many struggles but they only grew stronger from it. I think along with all of the problems the Haitians themselves were going through there were some issues that people are going through every day, whether it be having to do anything to take care of a child (Night Women) or Having to break from tradition to please a loved one (Caroline's Wedding). I highly recommend this book to anyone, remember that there is always someone who is going through what you're going through take a look and see what's going on. You are not alone.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2007

    Danicat captures my mind, body and soul~!

    This book was extremely good. It is about women strength and courage. This book captured every part of me. Danicat takes experiences and struggles in her life and incoperates it into her 9 short stories. All stories are related to each other. They have one common message....Strength and courage overcomes the toughest situation. I truly recomend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2007

    Romaine Raffington- Trumanhighschool- Mrs.jones

    Krik Krak was an very specail book, with a specail way of explaining the story about this girl. One book filled with other smaller stoires from other people point of view. I really liked reading this book, the content it contained was very well written. Hope to see more books like it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2007

    Harry s truman class 512 mrs jones

    My personal concern towards the book, Krik Krak, is a very descriptive writing piece of art. The book deals with a lot of women independence. women independence is just one of the many themes that is in this book. It shows real life events that had occurred to people who were in the had occurred to people who were in the situation that was in the book, Krik Krak. what is very exciting to me is how people learned from these events, and how they have grown from the events that occurred in the novel, Krik Krak.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2007

    Destinei Simpson ,ms jones 6th period

    Krik ,krak is a inspirational story based on womanhood and motherhood.The ladies in the story were dealt the worst cards of them all and through it they kept their faith, their love and their traditions. The tragedies that were in the novel gave vivid heartbreaking images that changed the way i think of my fellow women and the culture of Haiti.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2007

    Jomary Peña Mrs Jones P.d 6 Krik krak

    I enjoyed reading this book because it taught me a lot about the times back then in haiti.I liked the way that all the stories Connected with each other one way or the other and how they compared it with Braiding your hair. I think that whoever is going to read this book should really take time to understand it because this will really explain to the readers about haiti's dictatorship and all the struggle they went through to save their lives and also there families live

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2007

    Cherisse's review of the book

    The book had some really tragic stories in it which made it really interesting to read. Some of the stories were boring and hard in understanding the importance of it being in the book. What made the book confusing was that there were too many different types of stories in it but overall it was okay.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2007

    ATLEAST I READ AND LEARNED ALOT

    Krik krak is a nice book i like the fact that it shows the lifestyle people go through in diffrent parts of the world.You also learn about mother hood i like the fact that all the storeis connect in some kind of way. Also the storeis connect with everyday life and some of the storeis you can actully visulaize or get a picturie in your mind of whats happening becuase it connects with everyday life.Take the first story for example you actually get a picturie in your mind with the boat and the couple, and even the stories that included the women like the one that has to do with newyork.Basically i recommed thsi book becuase your are able to learn alot and i love the fact it is written it diffrent stories that connect in some way with one theme about motherhood, which is something we deal with in every day life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2007

    Krik? Krak

    Edwidge Danticat's Krik? Krak! brings to us tales about Haitian women from the 1900's. The book consists of nine short stories relating to women of Haiti from generation to generation. This characteristic of the book makes it easy to lose the connection between characters and events from one story to other stories. However, I enjoyed reading Krik? Krak! It gave me a glimpse of Haitian culture and introduced me to an unusual way of writing. If the book had not been assigned to me, I doubt that I would have picked it out to read by myself. Reading Krick? Krak! has encouraged me to look in to other books written by Edwidge Danticat.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2007

    Krik? Krak

    Edwidge Danticat's Krik? Krak! brings to us tales about hatian women from the 1900's. The book consists of nine short stories relating to women of Haiti from generation to generation. This characteristic of the book makes it easy to lose the connection between charaters and events from one story to other stories. However, i enjoyed reading Krik? Krak!. It gave me a glimpse of hatian culture and introduced me to an unusual way of writing. If the book had not been assigned to me, i doubt that i would have picked it out to read by myself. Reading Krick? Krak! has encouraged me to look in to other books written by Edwidge Danticat.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2007

    Krik? Krak

    The story Krik?Krak!was really great.The story has shown a real clear and descriptive picture of the Haitians strife.It has also shown that survival isn't just one person but it takes whole generations to move on.Even if you are alone physically you will never be mentally.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2007

    Krik? Krak

    krik krak is a very good book. its interesting to learn what people of different cultures have went through in the past. i would strongly recommend this book for readers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2007

    This Book Is Crazy U Know Who It Is David LOL Don't Take Points Off Mrs.Jones OK!

    well the book is nice and has some things i like, like the scenes of the boat. i really like those scenes because it mad me want read more to see what was going to happen. like the part when the pregnant lady had birth and her baby died already then she threw it into the water and then went after it WOW!! that made me hop out my bed. and i started laughin at the guys long name but the other stuff about the women and stuff i really didnt pay attetion to that ooooo you know what else was funny to me the BONE SOUP LOL but she wanted something to stay the same i asked my mom if she knows how to make bone soup LOL she made chicken wow thats funny. but read the book its interesting i recommend it to anyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2007

    Read this mind boggling book called Krik?Krak!

    This book Krik?Krak!, by Edwidge Danticat, is very interesting. It discusses life in Haiti around the time when haiti and the dominican republic separated from each other. It talks about the abuse haitians went through and the death they witnessed. Soldiers were killing and abusing these people and yet, they kept hope alive. Or died trying to. It is very detailed and tells the painful truth of life in Haiti. It is almost like Danticat put every bit of her heart into writing this story. It tells the life of the poor, the strong,and much more. It even tells of motherhood. In the epilouge, it tells of how motherhood is connected. Like when you mother is braiding your hair and in braiding, ties a bunch of wild hair together. Unifying the hair. Well think of it like this, each story is a different strand and when put together,has alot in common. It is kept together. In each story in the book, a different story is told, and if you can catch it, you will notice familiar names from the previous story. They all have a link. They're all part of the same family, the women that is. See how it is mind boggling? This is a great book and not only is it outstanding, it is recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2007

    krik! Krak!

    The novel was touching and heartfelt, it was about haitians and their cultures and how they have changed . This novel is about what haitians women went through they live and how they grow up in what type of society also it about they children and how they children have grow up different from them and about how they culture changed when they came to the united states.this novel was very touching and heartfelt when you read it because of how the haitian life were

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2007

    A reviewer

    I thought the book was boring at first, it was little bit confusing at the beginning, but as I continue to read it, I was able to understand it much better

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2007

    Blogging my stance

    I enjoyed this book. It gave a really detailed view of Haitian life. It was very interesting to read all the different stories, and feel the mood of each story. In all the stories, the main characters consisted of women. Women who made the difference in the stories. Some women showed persistence and strength. This book is based on the lives of those Haitian women.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2007

    Krik? Krak

    Krik Krak is a book that speaks to us about the haitian culture and what theyve went through in the past. i would definitely recommend this book, it is a great book. iat first i thought that it would be boring and about a noninteresting topic, but it turns out that i came to like the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2007

    Harry S. Truman Ms.Jones period 2

    This book by Edwidge Donticat is very exciting but confusing in many points. She from the beginning of this book expresses the forcefull ruling of the government during those times in Haiti. She described the struggle that women endured with mostly dramatic deaths of family members. In the childohood of other kids riddles were used by parents in a form of playfull gaming with their kids. I recommend this book because it relates to the life of people these days. Example of this is Caroline's marriage whereby the mom refused their marriage. This books refers to the author's life and of the world as well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2007

    Ayinde Muinat, Ms. Jones 2nd Period Harry S. Truman

    Krik Krak was a great book, but at the beginning, it was little bit confusing. I was able to understand it much better when I continued reading it, and it was an interesting book to read.

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