cover image Everything Inside

Everything Inside

Edwidge Danticat. Knopf, $25.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-525-52127-3

Families fracture and reform in Danticat’s outstanding and deeply memorable story collection. Set among the Haitian “dyaspora” including Miami, New York, and Haiti itself, the tales describe the complicated lives of people who live in one place but are drawn elsewhere. The American children of immigrants discover that their lives have been shaped by their parents’ Haitian pasts, as in the touching, funny “In the Old Days,” when a New York high school teacher learns that her absent father, who divorced her mother and returned to Haiti, is dying, and rushes to meet him. In the book’s standout story, “Sunrise, Sunset,” a woman with dementia struggles to impart the lessons of motherhood to her own daughter: “You are always saying hello to them while preparing them to say goodbye to you.” And the charming “Hot Air Balloons” follows two college freshmen—Neah, the child of academics, and Lucy, the daughter of migrant farm workers—as each comes to her own understanding of Haiti, a place of “idyllic beaches” and “dewy mountaintops,” as well as corruption and poverty, where girls are “recruited for orgies with international aid workers.” In plain, propulsive prose, and with great compassion, Danticat writes both of her characters’ losses and of their determination to continue: “There are loves that outlive lovers.” [em]50,000-copy announced first printing. Agent: Nicole Aragi, Aragi, Inc. (Aug.) [/em]