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Set in the villages of Haiti and in New York's community of Haitian exiles, Breath, Eyes, Memory is the story of Sophie Caco, who was conceived in an act of violence, abandoned by her mother and then, at the age of 12, is summoned to join in her in the United States. Reunited with a mother she barely remembers, she discovers that even in New York, Haiti imposes harsh rules on its daughters. For her mother cannot forget the horror of her rape nor stop herself from subjecting Sophie to sexual traumas that are almost as nightmarish. The only way Sophie can repair these injuries is by returning to her place of origin, and to the care of the women who first raised her, her aunt and her grandmother. As Sophie journeys back to Haiti, Danticat immerses the reader in a culture where intense respectability coexists with the casual savagery of the Tontons macoutes, and the longing for escape is pitted against the passionate loyalty to home.
“Vibrant, magic. . . wraps readers into the haunting life of a young Haitian girl.”—Boston Globe
“Danticat's calm clarity of vision takes on the resonance of folk art. . . . Extraordinarily successful.”—The New York Times Book Review
“A novel that rewards the reader again and again with small but exquisite and unforgettable epiphanies.”—Bob Shacochis, Washington Post Book World
“Danticat has created a stirring tale of life in two worlds: the spirit-rich land of her ancestry, whose painful themes work their way through lives across generational lines, and her adopted country, the United States, where a young immigrant girl must negotiate cold, often hostile terrain, even as she spars with painful demons of her past.”—Emerge