Published on: Sunday, November 1, 2015 Takoma Park Newsletter

Join the Friends for the year of the international novel

By Tim Rahn

Join the Friends Reading Group to discuss Edwidge Danticat’s novel Claire of the Sea Light on Thursday, Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the Hydrangea Room of Takoma Park Community Center.

Claire of the Sea Light takes place in a fictitious Haitian town, Ville Rose. Within the first couple of pages of the novel, Danticat describes two profound events. First, she tells how Claire’s fisherman father has learned of the death of another fisherman and then she reveals that the father has made the difficult decision to let another person raise Claire.

The evening of the same day, Claire’s birthday, she goes missing. Danticat uses the stories of neighbors and acquaintances to explore the mystery of Claire’s disappearance. We learn how Claire, whose mother died giving birth to her, has touched the lives of the other characters and what these relationships mean.

One reviewer commented that much of Danticat’s fiction is about “how the coercive power of collective silence about gender, race, and inequity creates deeply personal damage for individuals.” Claire of the Sea Light, she comments, “is a further investigation of the infinitely rippling consequences of silence.”

Born in Haiti and raised in New York City, Edwidge Danticat has won numerous awards for her fiction. Claire of the Sea Light was short-listed for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. Danticat is considered a major voice of the Haitian Diaspora.

This article appeared in the October 2015 edition of the Takoma Park Newsletter. The Takoma Park Newsletter is available for download here.