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Breath, Eyes, Memory
A Novel
Written by Edwidge Danticat

Breath, Eyes, Memory
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Category: Fiction - Literary
Imprint: Vintage
Format: Trade Paperback
Pub Date: May 1998
Price: $15.00
Can. Price: $18.00
ISBN: 978-0-375-70504-5 (0-375-70504-X)
Pages: 256
Also available as an eBook and a trade paperback.



 
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



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 
Edwidge Danticat was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in 1969. Her parents emigrated to New York when she was a small child, while she and her brother remained in Haiti, where they were raised by an aunt and uncle. At the age of twelve she moved to Brooklyn to be with her parents.


Danticat began writing as a teenager, and her essays and stories have appeared in many periodicals. She received a degree in French literature from Barnard College and an MFA in writing from Brown University. At Brown she completed work on Breath, Eyes, Memory, which she had begun as an undergraduate, and the novel was published in 1994. After finishing her master's degree, Danticat worked in Clinica Estetico, the production office of film director Jonathan Demme, who has a consuming interest in Haiti. She read and wrote scripts and continues to monitor and occasionally protest American policy in Haiti. In late 1994, Danticat returned to Haiti for the first time in thirteen years, to see President Aristide restored to power.

Danticat is the recipient of a James Michener Fellowship and awards from Seventeen magazine and from Essence. She is also the author of a collection of Haitian stories, Krik? Krak!, which was a National Book Award finalist, and the novel, The Farming of Bones (1998). She lives in New York City.





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