Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Claire of the Sea Light” as Want to Read:
Claire of the Sea Light
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Claire of the Sea Light

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  9,359 ratings  ·  1,259 reviews
A stunning work of fiction that brings us deep into the intertwined lives of a small seaside town where a little girl, the daughter of a fisherman, has gone missing.

From the best-selling author of Brother, I'm Dying and The Dew Breaker: a stunning new work of fiction that brings us deep into the intertwined lives of a small seaside town where a little girl, the daughter of
Hardcover, 238 pages
Published August 27th 2013 by Knopf (first published 2013)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Claire of the Sea Light, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Kumari de Silva I love her short stories published in the New Yorker, I highly recommend searching them out. I think all the old New Yorkers are available online and …moreI love her short stories published in the New Yorker, I highly recommend searching them out. I think all the old New Yorkers are available online and are searchable.(less)
Rebekah I highly recommend the Recorded Books audiobook narrated by Robin Miles to hear all the names' pronunciations and the dialect!…moreI highly recommend the Recorded Books audiobook narrated by Robin Miles to hear all the names' pronunciations and the dialect!(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,359 ratings  ·  1,259 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Claire of the Sea Light
David Dacosta
Aug 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Claire of the Sea Light is as much about the intersection of the lives of a group of Haitians of different social standings, as it is an exercise in the art of storytelling. The elements and characters of the story fit creatively together in a refreshingly non-conventional fashion. It’s a pleasure to read the spirit of love and the care that Danticat infuses into the language of Claire. The essence of what made her non-fiction works shine is present here.

The realism of Danticat’s writing gives t
Sep 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
I thought Claire of the Sea Light offered an interesting opportunity to get glimpses of the different characters' lives, but the book just felt disjointed overall and most of the storylines felt underdeveloped by the book's end - I thought they would at least tie in more together once I reached the end but that wasn't the case. I also thought with the book's title being what it was, that Claire (or at the very least, Nozias and/or Claire's mother) would tie in (either literally or figuratively ...more
Ron Charles
Aug 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013-favorites
In the decade since Edwidge Danticat published her last novel, “The Dew Breaker,” Haiti has been drowned by hurricanes and shaken by earthquakes. At each cataclysmic crisis, the plight of her homeland dominated the world’s attention and then quickly faded into the background radiation of suffering that passes through most of us unnoticed.

For someone born in Port-au-Prince, the temptation to rage at the public’s fickle concern must be immense. But in her rich new novel, “Claire of the Sea Light,”
Diane S ☔
Feb 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
3.5 Love the title of this book and the cover, even though I read it on my kindle I can see the cover on this site. This book was like a circular maze, where the prize is in the middle and you just follow in circular movements. It starts with a young seven yr. old Claire going missing from her village and home. This is not a linear book so after this we learn about the villagers that make up this town called Ville Rose. At one point when they switched to a new story I thought to myself, what doe ...more
Roger DeBlanck
Aug 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, favorites
Claire of the Sea Light is the type of unforgettable novel that pulls at the heartstrings and produces an almost unbearable degree of searing emotion. Claire Limye Lanme Faustin is the title character, and she is, of course, focal to the narrative, but she also serves as the lightning rod from which multiple storylines are illuminated. Each of these tales has a rhapsodic quality, full of pain and brimming with enchantment. Danticat examines an array of complex characters from the town of Ville R ...more
Aug 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Although I much preferred the more complex and historically significant novel by Danticat, The Farming of Bones, I still found myself transported to scenes I’d read in this one while washing dishes or brushing my teeth. The structure here is of multiple perspectives from a small, Haitian town, creating a quiet kind of sad. Her writing is sensual and alluring.
Staci Newring
Sep 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Ok let's make the book into a movie as soon as possible. Claire of the Sea Light should be played by Quvenzhane Wallis from Beast of the Southern Wild, and her father Nozias, should be played by Dwight Henry from Beast of the Southern Wild or better yet Forest Whitaker. I see Viola Davis as Gaelle, the shop keeper that Nozias wants to give his daughter to so that she will have a better life. I can just imagine what a beautiful picture this would be. I expected this book to be about what happened ...more
Chad Sayban
Sep 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
I was really looking forward to Claire of the Sea Light because I am always interested in works that bring far-off places and cultures that I will probably never have the opportunity to visit to life. And while Danticat did provide a look inside the culture of Haiti, the constant changes of character perspectives and reversals in the timeline of the story made it difficult for me to ever connect with any of the characters. In fact, the Claire of the title may be the least important or interestin ...more
A beautiful book with beautiful characters, beautifully written.

The format is more short story than 'novel', but this approach adds to its individuality. The same story is frequently told from multiple viewpoints. Part of the joy of reading this book for me was following the threads of the different perspectives.

Set in the island-town of Ville Rose, Haiti, it narrates the story of the disappearance of a seven-year-old girl, Claire Limyè Lanmè Faustin, and of the memories of an entire townspeople
Kasa Cotugno
Edwidge Danticat has always been a writer of powerful beauty, but here, she surpasses herself. At the center of this luminous novel is Claire, and through interlocking stories concerning her, her father Nozias, and the other inhabitants of a small fishing village 28 miles from Port au Prince, she presents a vivid portrait of a community and its insularity. Employing creole patois and sensual visual detail, the land comes to life for a reader who has never visited Haiti. She carefully lays out th ...more
Connie G
It is the seventh birthday of Claire Limye Lanme Faustin whose name means "Claire of the Sea Light" in Creole. Her birthday is also a day of death since Claire's mother died in childbirth, and her father brings her to the cemetery every year. On the morning of her seventh birthday, a huge wave overturned a fishing boat, and her father's good friend was lost in the sea.

On her birthday, Claire's impoverished father has been asking Madame Gaelle, a wealthy widow who is mourning her young daughter's
This book reminded me that I need to read more Caribbean literature (Any suggestions? I'm open). It was my third Goodreads book club read this month and I might just get used to this book club thing.

Claire Limyè Lanmè. Each time narration entertainer Robin Miles said her name on my audiobook, I was entranced. It was a great experience, hearing French Creole sprinkled throughout the prose, with the distinguished storytelling seeming to illuminate the setting.

At first the story seemed to be about
Joy D
This book is the story of a community and its inhabitants. Ville Rose, Haiti, is a small fictional town located about twenty miles from Port au Prince. It reads like a series of short stories, bookended by the tale of Claire and her father. Claire’s mother died when she was born. Her father is a poor fisherman who has asked the local fabric vendor to adopt his daughter. It is a story of community, class, and corruption.

Due to its beautiful title, I thought the book would be more about Claire, b
Dec 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing

This is an intoxicating weave of vignettes, populated by an endearing cast of characters. And there is no single protagonist either; they are all so important to this tale.

Perhaps the protagonist here is Haiti herself.

Claire Limyè Lanmè—Creole for Claire of the Sea Light—certainly draws you into her world so much that you are tempted to think of her as just that protagonist. But so many other significant souls swim by the reader that it becomes clear that
Grief and its effects on an impoverished Haitian fishing village.

On the morning of Claire Limyè Lanmè Faustin’s 7th birthday, a freak wave sweeps a local fisherman away. Claire’s father, Nozias, is also a fisherman, and her mother died giving her birth, so the sea poses a grave threat to this diminished family. Nozias decides it is time to seek a better life, which entails giving Claire up for adoption to bereaved Mme Gaëlle. Yet Claire, as cheerful but elusive as her middle names (“sea light”)

While Danticat is a talented writer, I confess to being lost at sea on the acclaim that this one has received.

This novel is as broken as the disparate lives within it: Danticat delivers a series of vignettes that never seem to quite come together, and frankly left me puzzling why so much good ink was spilled on something that was summed up much more effectively in one stanza of a Springsteen song: Spare parts, and broken hearts, Keep the world turning.

It isn't that the individual stories
Daniel Chaikin
May 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An audio I stumbled across, as it was available, this was also my first time reading Danticat and my first time getting a look at Haiti, and I liked both, although Danticat may not be ideal on audio.

Claire of the Sea Light is the translation from Creole French of one character's name who shows up in the beginning and then isn't heard from again for a long time. The novel is actually a series of connected short stories that overlap in story line and, for most, tie into the same moment. They give
Jan 10, 2013 rated it liked it
This was a 3.5 star book for me.

In language poetically beautiful and painstakingly precise, Danticat infuses her characters with dignity as they navigate through the loss of innocence and the burden of guilt with a dollop of hope in the small seaside town of Ville Rose. The book opens with the story of Claire Limye’s Lanme’s (Claire of the Sea Light) life up until the morning she turns seven, which is also a day of death to her as her mother died in childbirth, and her father struggles with the
This was the first book I read by this author and I read it quite a long time ago but never forgot it. I had been living in another state and was missing my family and friends so I went browsing and found some unique books. This was one of them.

Claire of the Sea Light tells a poignant story of a small girl who goes missing from a Fishermans village. It is a pretty short read and beautifully written.

I read some of the other reviews and ratings are all over the place. I think I'd give this a four
Dec 09, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.
Sep 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
While I was reading this book, Edwidge Danticat was interviewed on the public news hour. How fortunate was I. I really enjoy Danticat's writing. I was in Haiti for only 5 days but can recognize the society she describes. I also liked her interjection of the Creole language and her inclusion of poetic descriptions as well as poetry. The choice of the book title appears on p. 181. p. 118

The name was a buoyant as it sounded. It was the kind of name that you said with love, that you whispered in yo
Jun 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is my first Danticat but won't be my last. What a gift at evoking a place and a community of believable, vivid, characters. The only thing that detracted from my enjoyment was that sometimes the novel's tone and diction would shift from a kind of lyrical beauty to straightforward expository about the social ills of the town that felt more like a newspaper editorial than a fictional story. ...more
Set in Ville Rose Claire of the Sea Light is about mostly about Claire, her father, the town, grief, and what it means to be a parent. Claire’s mother died while giving birth to her, so on her birthday she usually “celebrate” by going with her father to her mother’s grave. With the death of his wife, fisherman Nozias must now figure out how to give his daughter the life she deserves.

Nozias did not attend school, and is barely getting by as a fisherman, he wants to give Claire the life he’s ne
Darryl Suite
Feb 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is so different than what I was expecting. The structure is more like interconnected short stories, but comes back full circle, it ends how it started. This is fantastic. I was fascinated by every single character, all of the townspeople, their relationships, and each of their stories. Although you won't support every character decision, they're all so devastatingly human. Luminous book.

After reading 'Everything Inside' and now this, I am obsessed with Danticat. And I've heard this is far
Bonnie Brody
Aug 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The structure of Claire of the Sea Light reminded me a bit of Olive Kitteridge, a novel composed of interconnecting short stories that meld the characters and their lives together, exposing secrets and providing additional information about their connections as we read. It is a beautiful novel, very poetic in its structure.

The story begins in 2009 in Ville Rose, Haiti. It starts out with Nozias, a fisherman, wanting to give his daughter away to a fabric shop owner on her seventh birthday. Claire
I feel a little deceived by the book blurb and cover art for this book. I thought I was getting a story about a father struggling to give his daughter a future where she could have opportunities. But the story is really a collection of glimpses into the lives of the people who live in the same town as the father and his daughter. The characters we follow are connected to each other through their work or a personal acquaintance.

The story opens and we learn that every year on her birthday her fath
Elizabeth (Alaska)
This is a novel of inter-connected stories, a vehicle I like. It is on that Listopia , which I created. I admit that, had I recalled it is there, my expectations might have been slightly different. However, that is not my main quibble.

My quibble instead, is that the writing doesn't measure up. I have thought and thought about what I didn't like about it. Though not especially interesting, the sentence structure is varied enough for me not to complain. I finally realized it is the lack of decent
Sep 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Haunting and mythic. This work is like Faulkner, in taking the common man and making him seem like a god; but this work too is like Hemingway, with strong, straightforward sentences that are simply unbreakable, pushing life forward with each full stop. In each story, we learn the deeper past of these characters, of their communal story, unbeknownst to any of them in its entirety. How grand to sit watching them, learn why they act toward their neighbours so. The eponymous character is more like a ...more
Emi Bevacqua
Sep 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, haunting
This is a not altogether complete story, of a small Haitian village where wealthy Gaelle lost her husband as she gave birth to their daughter, and where a few years later impoverished local fisherman Nozais lost his wife as she gave birth to their daughter. This story, and some others (about nascent gang warfare, radio journalists and a DJ, the diaspora, the wealthy and the poor who tend to the care of their families) are told from different perspectives.

Claire of the Sea Light is 7 years old,
Oct 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Danticat's writing is precise and at times lovely, and the sense of setting--I could feel the heat and dampness of Haiti, hear the cadence of the Creole language and see the devastation of floods and rogue waves--was powerful. But the central story, of a seven-year-old girl who disappears the night her father gives her away to a wealthy widow bereft of her own child, should have affected me more than it did. I think there were too many characters and too many other stories woven around that of C ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Dubbelporträtt
  • Strega
  • At Night We Walk in Circles
  • Libertie
  • Osebol
  • In a German Pension: 13 Stories
  • Mai betyder vatten
  • Can You Feel This?
  • On Self-Respect
  • The Lion's Den
  • Knappt en droppe blod
  • The Mysterious Code (Trixie Belden #7)
  • Mr. White's Confession
  • Mystery in Arizona (Trixie Belden, #6)
  • Girl On A Train
  • The Bookman's Promise (Cliff Janeway, #3)
  • The Orchard of Lost Souls
  • All My Mother's Lovers
See similar books…
See top shelves…
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

Related Articles

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
41 likes · 10 comments
“So much had fallen into the sea. Hats fell in to the sea. Hearts fell into the sea. So much had fallen into the sea” 17 likes
“No one will love you more than you love your pain.” 16 likes
More quotes…