Fièvre is dazzled by what she describes as Danticat's ability to write about her home country as though she never left despite having spent far more time in the United States than in Haiti.

"I started reading her when I was living in Haiti," Fièvre tells New Times. "The first book of hers I read was Krik? Krak! but I read it in French. With translations, part of the original meaning is going to get lost even if you find a fabulous translation. But when you look at Edwidge, not a lot is lost if anything at all. This is because her words, they have in them the Haitian soul."

Danticat deflects that adulation as she does most compliments. (Despite garnering the MacArthur grant, she insists that she is "not a genius" and that her math skills have not noticeably improved since receiving the award.)

Danticat: "Sometimes, what you come away with from Haiti is so intangible."
Jonathan Demme
Danticat: "Sometimes, what you come away with from Haiti is so intangible."


Claire of the Sea Light: By Edwidge Danticat. 256 pages, hardcover. Published by Knopf.

Claire of the Sea Light is a gorgeous and fragile novel that, through death, explores what it means to be alive. Though the 2010 earthquake is seemingly inextricable from the story, Danticat insists it is not an earthquake novel.

"Everyone is talking about who will write the great Haitian earthquake novel," she explains, "but I don't want to get in the running for that. If something comes to me, I might follow it. But right now, it's still too fresh."

She thinks of the bag that her cousin's wife made, each stitch a buttress against the pain of a world collapsing around the woman. "It has a rose on the front," Danticat says, "this bag that grew out of this woman's grief."

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