Claire of the Sea Light: Haitian Island Mystery


Claire of the Sea Light   by Edwidge Danticat (2013)

Review by Sherry Evans

Seven year old Claire disappears, lost in the murky, magical shadows of the sea village, Ville Rose, in Haiti at precisely the moment when the villagers are mourning the death of a fisherman at sea.  Claire’s father Nozias, a fisherman, has raised her alone since her mother’s death at childbirth.  Layers, so many layers; all shadowy and overlapping with tentacles running forward and back connecting every soul in Ville Rose.  A tentacle is released here, a layer unfolds there and we begin to emerge from the rolling darkness of the fog knowing we are putty in Danticat’s expert hands.  Vengeful death, clandestine dalliances, government corruption, heartbreaking poverty and sadness, set against the stunning backdrop of this ancient, haunted sea village.  Despite its inviting beauty this is a village no stranger should enter.  Too many secrets, too many dangers.

We read and re-read, not wanting the story to end, yet wondering and worrying about Claire.  Did she run away or was she taken?  Where is she?  Is she alive?  Will her father be able to set aside his grief and look for his child? 

“Sometimes when she was lying on her back in the sea, her toes pointed, her hands facing down, her ears half-submerged, while she was listening to both the world above and beneath the water, she yearned for the warm salty water to be her mother’s body, the waves her mother’s heartbeat, the sunlight the tunnel that guide her out the day she was born.”

Lyrically compelling, with memorable characters, I invite you to read Claire of the Sea Light and enter a timeless place of magic and mystery.Haitian author Edwidge Danticat

Edwidge Danticat is the author of numerous award-winning books including Brother, I’m Dying, Breath, Eyes, Memory and The Dew Breaker.  She lives in Miami.

New York Times Book Review.


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