Claire of the Sea Light

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The story begins on Claire’s seventh birthday, and it begins with a death. As the town of Ville Rose joins together to first help find and then mourn the loss of Caleb, an old fisherman, Claire goes missing. Though Claire’s disappearance offers suspense throughout the book, it does not provide the main narrative thrust of the story. Instead, Danticat uses Claire as a jumping off point to describe pivotal moments in the lives of various inhabitants of the town. As we learn about these people’s stories, their triumphs and tragedies, we can slowly see the connections between them. Through these individuals, an entire town is fleshed out and made real.

Danticat’s writing is transportive. I have never been to Haiti, but, because of her stories, I can close my eyes and see, smell, hear, and live Ville Rose. She brings the same level of detail and animation to her characters, and they all become intensely real. It is impossible to read Claire of the Sea Light and not experience heartache on behalf of Nozias, who only wants the best for his daughter, Gaëlle, who both gained and lost so much on a single day, and many others. Even the minor characters are painted so vividly that they leave an impact. Danticat is an immensely talented author, and this is an immensely rich and powerful book. I cannot recommend it enough.

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Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 256 pages
Publisher Knopf
Publish Date 2013-Aug-27
ISBN 9780307271792 Buy this Book
Issue April 2014
Category Modern Literature


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