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Krik? Krak!

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  5,477 Ratings  ·  465 Reviews
At an astonishingly young age, Edwidge Danticat has become one of our most celebrated new writers. She is an artist who evokes the wonder, terror, and heartache of her native Haiti--and the enduring strength of Haiti's women--with a vibrant imagery and narrative grace that bear witness to her people's suffering and courage.

When Haitians tell a story, they say "Krik?" and t
Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 2nd 1996 by Vintage (first published 1995)
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Aug 24, 2016 Didi rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: literary fiction lovers, short story collections, stories about haitian diaspora
I’d never heard the words Kirk? Krak! and wondered what they meant when I picked this book up. Reading the back cover, I learned that storytellers say Krik? and listeners say Krak! in Haiti. Krik? Krak! is a poetic collection of connected short stories that explores the Haitian community in the United States and in Haiti.
Feb 11, 2014 Rowena rated it it was amazing
Shelves: caribbean-lit
“These were our bedtime stories. Tales that haunted our parents and made them laugh at the same time. We never understood them until we were fully grown and they became our sole inheritance.”- Edwidge Danticat, “Krik? Krak!”

This selection of short stories was absolutely amazing. Heartbreaking, but brilliant. We see Haiti through different eyes, each pair experiencing a lot of pain and loss. Even with the knowledge that I have of Haiti’s horrific history, what Danticat wrote (using vignettes tol
Everyone knows what the baseline reader is. The body is abstract, the habits of the norm, the names of a conventional origin, the hierarchy unquestioned. To get a hint of the opposite, look at which covers are commissioned for thematic design and which consist of bodies and cultural artifacts. You'll learn about the blackened butterfly of this cover through one of the stories, as well as about the lives of the women that fit the archetype of my alternative cover that the digitized edition does n ...more
Aug 15, 2007 Deepthi rated it it was amazing
I remember when I was in high school, Edwidge Danticat was one of the new rising literary stars who was getting a lot of attention. It's nice to come back to this collection of short stories and realize that it was completely justified. Krik? Krak! is that rare collection which feels like a novel in its own right -- each story is not only a perfect gem on its own, but connects thematically to the rest of the stories to create a greater whole. The stories are linked by a network of metaphors an g ...more
Aug 22, 2015 Darkowaa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
!!! blog review:

I really liked this! It was the perfect summer read, especially since most of the short stories in this collection take place in Haiti - the island with the indigo blue skies and the sandy beaches. It is very evident that Danticat wrote this from her heart and I felt her love for her island in every story. My fave stories were: Children of the Sea (tender tale of two lovers separated by political violence and the sea) ; Between the Pool an
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Beautifully written stories, featuring women in difficult lives. I particularly enjoyed the epilogue, "Women Like Us," that has a sense of a recited poem to it.

I had selected a pile of books set in various Caribbean places to read when I was in the Caribbean, so it was interesting to end up reading Krik? Krak! while I was in the Bahamas. A recurring theme throughout these stories is how Bahamians treat Haitians cruelly. Just a few islands away!

"They treat Haitians like dogs in the Bahamas, a wom
Aug 19, 2011 Ryan rated it it was ok
"The Groom's Still Waiting at the Alter" is one of my favorite Bob Dylan songs, but it's on one of his worst albums. So I rarely recommend it. Nevertheless, it's a great single and it can exist independently of the album (Shot of Love) on greatest hits albums, live albums, and even as a single song downloaded from iTunes, Amazon, or a Torrent. You could probably find it on youtube.

If only short stories had it so easy. They don't even get radio play, for one thing, and few make it to anthologies,
Sajal M Shrestha
Mar 08, 2012 Sajal M Shrestha rated it really liked it
Krik? Krak! is a collection of stories that mainly highlights the negative consequences of Haiti’s complicated history of violence and power struggles through the stories of lives of ordinary Haitians. All the characters that are given shape in this book suffer in some ways directly from the complicated politics within Haiti that has led to mass murdering and countless sufferings. On a deeper level, Krik? Krak! also underscores the important question imposed on citizens of all developing countri ...more
Andrea Siso
Mar 08, 2012 Andrea Siso rated it it was amazing
Danticat offers a beautiful rendering of Haitian life, in a novel that utterly evokes the many shades of suffering. Tears, the author demonstrates, are life. Tears are words. Tears heal the pains of the past. Stylistically, I feel that Danticat implemented a structure that absolutely suits her writing--there are separate strands of stories, implying the individuality of angst and emotion; yet these parts are unified by being braided together by the commonality of vibrant Haitian culture and beli ...more
Jan 04, 2010 Sophie rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
She then gave me the pillow, my mother's pillow. It was open, half-filled with my mother's hair. Each time they shaved her head, my mother had kept the hair for her pillow. I hugged the pillow against my chest, feeling some of the hair rising in clouds of dark dust into my nostrils. -48

She nearly didn't marry him because it was said that people with angular hairlines often have very troubled lives. -65

He always slaps the mosquitoes dead on his face without even waking. In the morning, he will ha
May 16, 2013 L8blmr rated it liked it
This book about Haiti broke my heart! Though the common theme throughout the stories is surely that of "hope," I have to warn prospective readers that quite often, hope is crushed - cruelly, and sometimes violently. Still, the author has quite a talent for storytelling in the tradition of Haitian women with a poignancy and appeal that keeps you reading, and perhaps crying.
Let's start with the opening story, "Children of the Sea." Imbued with dread, but with the sort of irrational hope that characterizes all wanderers and exiles, it's something of a wonder. If only the remainder of the book followed up on this promise. The rest of the stories struck me as merely OK, and all too often fell into the oft-repeated, thoroughly marketable tropes of "immigrant family fiction," (the Rebellious American Daughter, the Betrayal of Communitarian Tradition, etc. etc.). If you' ...more
Jocelyn Cassada
Mar 08, 2012 Jocelyn Cassada rated it really liked it
Krik? Krak! is a stunning collection of short stories that describe the experience of Haitian women during the political turmoil and chaos of Haiti in the twentieth century. At times I found the book difficult to read because the stories were so graphically brutal and painful, but I believe it is a must read for anyone who would like to better understand the complexities of Haitian historical memory. I thought it was especially interesting that Danticat included the stories of women who live in ...more
Candace Bethea
Mar 07, 2012 Candace Bethea rated it really liked it
in Krik? Krak! Edwidge Danticat successfully defines Haitian identity through various young women in different short stories by telling of their hardships and struggles. This novel is harrowing and at the same time uplifting because reading of these women's lives is humbling to anyone who has only ever known freedom, yet their strength and determination to attain true freedom lifts the reader up. Krik? Krak! embodies the strength of the Haitian identity through women. Cold reality told with styl ...more
Claire Rasberry
Mar 07, 2012 Claire Rasberry rated it it was amazing
Krik? Krak! is a book of powerful vignettes that explores the Haitian identity within multiple contexts. The stories take place in various geographical locations such as on a boat heading for the United States, several cities within Haiti, and in New York City. In almost all the stories, the Haitian identity is solidified and/or clarified once a person leaves the island and establishes themselves somewhere else. This theme is illustrated by a common refrain in the novel (a lyric from Haiti's nat ...more
Mar 26, 2011 Robyn rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
This book was really a mixed bag for me. Some of the short stories are really engrossing, interesting, and meaningful, while others were vague, puzzling, and dull. If you are from Haiti, or are studying that country, then this book will be a lot more useful and enlightening for you than it was for me, but a lot of the historical aspects of the book were really lacking in context for the average American reader.If you come to this book with no knowledge of the country, then most of this is puzzli ...more
Catherine Anderson
Mar 04, 2010 Catherine Anderson rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Catherine by: Washington & Lee University
Wow. Edwidge Danticat’s Krik? Krak! is inviting in its apparent simplicity, but gains relevance and worth as the reader discovers its many complex layers. Structured as a series of short stories, Krik? Krak! is able to cover a wide breadth of the struggles, traumas, and successes experienced by the people of Haiti. The characters and their tales are incredibly personal and emotionally poignant, cover topics such as long distance love, motherhood, art and education, and sisterly relationships. Ho ...more
alexandra stumpf
Oct 13, 2014 alexandra stumpf rated it really liked it
"You remember thinking while braiding your hair that you look a lot like your mother and her mother before her. It was their whispers that pushed you, their murmurs over pots sizzling in your head. A thousand women urging you to speak through the blunt tip of your pencil. Kitchen poets, you call them. Ghosts like burnished branches on a flame tree. These women, they asked for your voice so that they could tell your mother in your place that yes, women like you do speak, even if they speak in a t ...more
Aug 02, 2014 Doreen rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Diane, Jan F., Kate, Iris, Marisa, Carol
Recommended to Doreen by: read about the book/author somewhere, I think.
Why don't I read more short story collections? If there are collections that are similar to 'Krik? Krak!', then I WILL READ THEM! Danticat's writing is beautiful, lyrical, sentimental, yet sympathetically raw. Her stories portray the struggles and history of the Haitian people. She lends a tender voice especially to the Haitian women, understanding their superstitions and their centuries-old traditions as they are passed on from mother to daughter.

Each story can stand on its own merit, but the
Mar 19, 2012 Cindy rated it really liked it

The novel Krik Krak written by Edwidge Danticat vividly illustrates the struggles of the Haitian community through the perspective and voices of Haitian women. Their perspectives have been silenced and ignored by society, but thanks to Danticat we are able to learn about them. All of the women in the book experience different struggles, but they have something in common—they use their imagination to create worlds parallel to their realties as a defense mechanism to survive their struggling situa
Johan Garcia
Mar 07, 2012 Johan Garcia rated it really liked it
If I were to describe this novel, I would say it's like looking at an emotional spectra that emphasizes strongly the melancholic range. It's a moving book. The different stories in this novel help the reader understand how a life of pain and hopelessness can convert into a marker of identity and allow the character to derive strength out of weakness. After every tear the reader may have to wipe away followed by a turn of a page, the reader realizes that struggle is not a mere fight for a better ...more
Ellison Johnstone
Apr 04, 2012 Ellison Johnstone rated it liked it
Krik? Krak! is a gripping, yet disturbing look into the lives of several Haitian women connected along a generational line. I found the language of the work to be very eloquent despite its dismal content. The novel is full of phrases that immediately grab the reader's attention and make a deep imprint in the mind. It is a truly shocking novel, and is clearly very reflective of the country of Haiti and some of its serious problems. The various stories told show the great multitude of examples of ...more
Apr 05, 2012 Mark rated it really liked it
For me, Krik? Krak! served as a challenging, engrossing, rare, and beautifully honest insight to life. I mean this to say that Danticat's unique, and in my opinion effective, style of literary storytelling serves to transcend, or destroy entirely, the barriers of culture, language, history, and context in order to present her story, which is consequently not only the story but also the life of her friends, her family, her neighbors, her countrymen. Even if not focusing on the power of her storyt ...more
Mary Elizabeth
Mar 07, 2012 Mary Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
Krik? Krak! by Edwidge Danticat is a collection of short stories that detail the Haitian experience. A combination of reflection, storytelling, history, and memories each story brings to light different aspects of Haitian culture, while reinforcing the commonalities between the Haitian people. As a whole, Krik? Krak! is an emotional whirlwind. Danticat brings forth the raw emotions felt by the characters and exposes the reader to those same feelings of love, kinship, grief, and pride. In attempt ...more
Mar 18, 2012 Danielle rated it it was amazing
Krit? Krat! is an amazingly thought-provoking collection of short stories, which pays tribute to the female voices, echoes, and murmurs of Haitian society, past and present. By providing a glimpse into the private realm of mother-daughter, aunt-niece, grandmother-grand-daughter relationships, Edwidge Danticat artfully shares the fables, superstitions, and womanly advice that shape Haitian women’s identities. Even if readers cannot relate to the specific stories told, most people agree that their ...more
Mar 29, 2010 Jasmine rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Ashna
Recommended to Jasmine by: LACS 256 Course-Washington and Lee University
The recent earthquake in Haiti has started to draw some much needed attention to the region, but before the earthquake struck there were many tragedies facing the Haitian people. Edwidge Danticat does a beautiful job of expressing the unending suffering the Haitian people have had to endure in her novel, Krik? Krak!. If you cannot empathize with the characters that come to life in this novel, then you are not fully engaging your senses as you read. Danticat's writing style is so smooth that it s ...more
Sep 09, 2010 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
This collection of interlinked short stories is a quick read, but the characters flitted in and out of my thoughts long after I set down the book. The hardships and tortures faced by these Haitian women across multiple generations seem almost unbelievable, they are so far from my experience. It is so easy to dismiss a whole country as a place of suffering and not see the people as individuals. Danticat's stories personalize Haiti and remind you that these horrors happen to ordinary people in the ...more
Michelle Hirschfeld
Mar 10, 2010 Michelle Hirschfeld rated it really liked it
Recommended to Michelle by: Washington and Lee University
Danticat's Krik? Krak! is a fascinating collection of short stories about several generations of women of a Haitian family. The stories often deal with the painful realities of Haitian life, including rape, false imprisonment and extreme poverty. Daticat's writing style is fairly easy to read, but full of complexity and deeply affecting. Each story had its memorable and affecting parts but the opening story, Children of the Sea. It is told in the unique style of two lovers writing letters to eac ...more
Jun 15, 2014 Inda rated it it was amazing
Short story collections are awesome when done well. All the stories spring from a Haitian town called Ville Rose even when they take place in New York and Port-au-Prince. Danticat writes about a number of issues including immigration, living under a dictatorship and the bonds of family ties under all these conditions. For me, the first story "Children of the Sea" is most heartbreaking, coming from the perspective of a young girl chronicling her story in a journal in the form of letters to the lo ...more
Mar 07, 2012 Sofia rated it really liked it
Krik? Krak! is a great novel written by a Haitian writer named Edwidge Danticat. She moved to the United States when she was twelve years old and experienced a process of cultural assimilation. Edwidge Danticat, as she has stated in various books and interviews, has the need to be the voice of her people. By belonging to a country that “had suffered too much […] they have endured slavery, hunger, disease, oppression, corruption, violence… all in excess” (Claudine Michel) Danticat has such a stro ...more
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Afro Book Club: Krik Krak - Book Discussion 11 27 Jul 01, 2014 08:39PM  
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Edwidge Danticat was born in Haiti and moved to the United States when she was twelve. She is the author of several books, including Breath, Eyes, Memory, an Oprah Book Club selection; Krik? Krak!, a National Book Award finalist; and The Farming of Bones, an American Book Award winner. She is also the editor of The Butterfly's Way: Voices from the Haitian Dyaspora in the United States and The Beac ...more
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“No, women like you don't write. They carve onion sculptures and potato statues. They sit in dark corners and braid their hair in new shapes and twists in order to control the stiffness, the unruliness, the rebelliousness.” 80 likes
“I also know there are timeless waters, endless seas, and lots of people in this world whose names don't matter to anyone but themselves. I look up at the sky and I see you there.” 22 likes
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