Friday, October 2, 2015

Fall favorites! Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat.

Happy Fall season! 
We had a great time this summer -- outdoor concerts, author mingles and paint parties. 
As the weather cools down, we though we'd suggest our favorite reads -- perfect for staying in and enjoying the new season. 

Every Friday we will post a Fall Favorite -- starting today with Doris' pick,  Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat.  

This September, Edwidge Danticat joined us for an intimate book reading and conversation with loyal fans.  When asked which of her own books was her favorite, she replied: Claire of the Sea Light (published in 2013).

I undoubtedly agreed, half way through the vignette-styled novel I felt that few other worlds could stay in my heart, like those of Ville Rose.

It is here, on a tempestuous shoreline, we first met our heroine, seven year old Claire Limye Lanme Faustin. And like a cascade, Danticat tenderly and unsentimentally reveals the people who have loved her the most, and the strangers who have loved them in turn. By the end you have this incredible patchwork of living and breathing that I was overwhelmed by my capacity to understand Haitian life in the few words she expressed.

The easy style of Edwidge Danticat's writing is what brings you in and lets you trust her in a deep, primal manner. That must be what enamors so many people to her work. The sweat of the writer's toil is clear, that she so encapsulates the essentials of life in a foreign world to the reader, and allows you to sit on that Haitian shoreline, kitchen, slum road, that you feel undoubtedly must be real. And you fall in love with the experience of reading her work, as you feel her world as if you've lived there your whole life.

In small chapters you meet the people with the power to change her life, like her father who debates whether or not to give her away for adoption. Or the dressmaker who may rekindle her role as a mother by sharing her home with the little girl. One afternoon she runs away, and like a mystery tale, Danticat artfully and confidently weaves in the lives of distantly related townspeople who all share in the sum experience little Claire has run away from, and is irrevocably made of.

About Doris:
A firm believer in the magic of books, from her Uncle Gerardo's science textbooks to her father's hilarious imitations from a book on Leonardo da Vinci's inventions, Doris-Elin Salazar currently works as a researcher at La Casa Azul Bookstore. She writes for Ashajiraa, a blog detailing the work of extraction industry activists in La Guajira, Colombia.

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