Miami Author Edwidge Danticat: "Claire of the Sea Light Is Not the Great Haitian Earthquake Novel"

Edwidge Danticat's cousin was buried alive under his own house.

Like so many other Haitian-Americans, the Miami author lost family in the 2010 earthquake that by some estimates killed more than 300,000 people in and around Port-au-Prince.

"At some point, his body was moved to the family mausoleum, but his son was lost in the rubble and was never recovered," she remembers. "It's always a part of visiting Haiti, a visit to the living and to the dead."

Released this week, Claire of the Sea Light is Danticat's first book-length work of literary fiction since The Dew Breaker in 2004. Since then, she has received her second National Book Award nomination, for her memoir Brother, I'm Dying, and a MacArthur "Genius" grant. Also, on her most recent visit to Haiti, she was given a bag crocheted by the wife of her late cousin.

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B. Caplan