I’ve been in the process of reading short story collections to piece together some units for my fall course. I’ve got another collection in the wings, because diversity of texts and ideas is always a great thing. I did not expect to fall so deeply in love with Edwidge Danticat’s Krik? Krak! that I would consider bumping one of my texts to make room for this. And yet here we are.
In Haitian tradition, when someone asks “Krik?” you respond, “Krak!” It’s an invocation to tell a story, and the storyteller responds. Danticat tells a plethora of poetic and moving stories, all weaving separate plots and characters together with the power of an idea. She makes the most of her scenery, dialogue, and characters to bring us stories that need to be told. I liked them all equally, because they are gorgeously written and rendered. My personal favorites were “A Wall of Fire Rising” and “Caroline’s Wedding,” because they made use of setting, dialogue, and character development to bring the denouement to a head.
If you are a reader of short stories, you simply must read Krik? Krak! It’s a unique collection that is incredibly written and filled with the kind of heart and soul that I look for in a book. Danticat is an amazingly talented writer, and I am going to be seeking out ALL of her books immediately. She marries so many elements I want in a novel–good writing, good story, and the sense of self-awareness that you are in the novel even as you read it. If you’re looking for something unique, but beautifully written, I cannot recommend this enough.