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Krik? Krak!

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  7,173 ratings  ·  612 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 April 1st 1996)
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Fernanda Couldn't agree more. One of the best short story collections I've ever read.

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Average rating 4.12  · 
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 ·  7,173 ratings  ·  612 reviews

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Brown Girl Reading
Aug 24, 2016 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. ...more
Feb 11, 2014 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
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The sort of short stories that novelists envy. Danticat writes with such fury, with such purpose--about a topic neither you or I are acquainted with! (Well, maybe I don't know you too much, do I?)

Haiti. The last time I gave this country a lick of thought was when I explained to my niece how zombies are made. I am sooo horrid! Just like the orange infant in the White House--unaware, HAPPY to be ignorant of, places other than here.

That the book begins with an epistolary of two different souls, nev
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
Jul 01, 2015 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
Aug 03, 2007 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
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
April 2018
This was an interesting re-read for me because based on the review below, I didn't enjoy it too much the first time. Eight years later, I enjoyed it so much more than I thought I would. I love how each story reads like a book and how engaging the characters are. Some of my favorite stories were:
Children of the Sea
A Wall of Fire Rising
Between the Pool and the Gardenias
Seeing things Simply
New York Day Women
Caroline Wedding
Women Like Us

First book by Danticat and I am intrigued. I liked
Heartbreaking and beautiful collection of short stories.
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library
I absolutely loved these heartbreaking and poignant short stories. Brava, Edwidge!
Lekeisha The Booknerd
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-five-stars
Whenever I read stories from Haiti, I learn a little bit more. No, I don't think I'll ever fully understand the country's history or its people's lives, but I love that I get to know it a little. This collection is beautiful, even when the stories are anything but. Krik? Krak! is some poetic justice for the people of Haiti. Love this!!
Aug 10, 2011 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,
Andrea Siso
Mar 08, 2012 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
Sajal M Shrestha
Mar 08, 2012 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
Jan 04, 2010 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
“Beloved Haiti, there is no place like you. I had to leave you before I could understand you.”

KRIK? KRAK! by Edwidge Danticat is a collection of short stories and the first one (Children of The Sea) blew me away. Her writing is dynamic and lyrical, at times a dreamlike fervor. Reading further, I enjoyed and understood some stories more than others but started noticing how they were connected by referencing the same incident or having recurring characters. The stories informed and enriched each
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
Victoria Carter
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I bought this book way back in January and I wasn't planning on reading it any time soon. I think the cover always made me want to avoid reading it for some reason but I picked it up a few days ago and I couldn't put it down. The stories really were captivating and I'm not a huge fan of books with short stories so I was surprised by how much I loved it. I also loved how some stories tied in with others. Some of these stories will make you ponder life and others leave you gasping for air. Overall ...more
Mar 07, 2009 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.
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
The most beautiful and moving stories I've ever read. They are about Haiti.
Never Without a Book
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Still my favorite.
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I discovered the magic of Edwidge Danticat’s work through anthologies that featured her work, such as Night Women, a harrowing story where a boy has to keep quiet behind the curtain only to hear his mother prostituting herself. Afterwards, I read and expanded my knowledge of her through a Women in Literature class where we were assigned to read the entire collection.

Children of the Sea is a heartbreaking story of refugees trying to get to America during a hot day where everyone is passing out d
In addition to 2017's Book Riot challenge, I have a soft goal of working on my existing read around the world list. This is my choice for Haiti.

Each story left me wanting to know more; each was connected by the bones of one another, through families and history and blood. The first story was my favorite, if not the most arresting (that way lies with Between the Pool and the Gardenias, a dead baby and a delusional woman). Children of the Sea is a back and forth story between a young man and woma
Catherine Anderson
Mar 04, 2010 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
Claire Rasberry
Mar 06, 2012 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 05, 2012 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
Candace Bethea
Mar 07, 2012 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
Mar 26, 2011 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
Jocelyn Cassada
Mar 08, 2012 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
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: review
Focus in the first part of this short stories collection is on the cruelty of the everyday lives of the Haitian people who are exposed to the terror of the state regime. These stories perfectly capture the captivity, the hopelessness of the situation, while the second part shows the immigrant Haitian family in America. Both parts (and all stories) are linked by another narrative thread - the connection of the women in the community. Powerful!
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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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