Separation and memory. These are the two things that, for me, define the lives of Edwidge Danticat’s characters in Krik? Krak!. The nine interconnected stories present us with the struggles of different women that have to deal with the political tension and the poverty in their country, Haiti, and how they affect their lives. Each story tells us about the pain and suffering that are the common trait of characters that have different backgrounds and varying expectations of life.
The opening short story, “Children of the Sea”, grabs the reader’s attention in such a way that it is impossible to put the book down. Two narrators, a young man and woman who love each other are writing letters that they will never exchange. Through their letters you learn of their haste and forced separation and the promise to write daily to one another so when they meet again they can read the letters and know what each of them went through. But the separation will not be temporary, as they hoped, and only the memory of that love will remain in the unread letters.
In these stories memory is the way that women find to stay alive forever. They keep in mind what the generations past lived, and they want to make sure to let their stories for posterity. Some of them are away from home, like Grace’s mother in “Caroline’s Wedding”, and try desperately to keep their culture alive by passing everything on to their daughters who live in a different world and cannot truly understand the traditions of their Haitian antecedents.
Danticat’s language is compelling; it urges us to feel the pain of those characters and to understand their nature and sympathise with them. All those characters have lost something or someone due to the political and economical instability of Haiti. By the end of the book you feel like you can really understand the narrator of the epilogue when she says:
“You have never been able to escape the pounding of a thousand other hearts that have outlived yours by thousands of years. And over the years when you have needed us, you have always cried ‘Krik?’ and we have answered ‘Krak!’ and it has shown us that you have not forgotten us.” (224)
This is the weigh of the memory of women’s lives. In this case it is that of Haitian women, but what it brought to my mind was the memory of all the women in the world that have suffered so much and fought for a better life for us. And it reminded me that we still have a long way to go.
The edition I read was:
Danticat, Edwidge. Krik? Krak!. Vintage Contemporaries: New York. 1996. Print.
Hello everyone! I still don’t have a new computer. Yep, this is really sad. I hope the new one will be delivered tomorrow, but I’m not sure it will. The computer I’m using works, but not so well and many of the softwares I use wouldn’t work so I didn’t even bother to install them.This means that I don’t have Photoshop for the time being, or Fireworks, or my English grammar and dictionaries. Ok, let’s stop complaining, at least I can still access the internet, right?
Library Dream is a new section I’m starting today. If you have been reading my blog for some time now, you know that I’m a book lover and as such I want to have a home library. That isn’t a cheap thing, as you can probably imagine, especially living here in Brazil where books are very expensive. Nonetheless, I have been buying and collecting books for some years now. The biggest problem I have is space! I have literally no more space for books, not that I’ll let this stop me from buying them. I’ll find a way to keep them all.
So this is what Library Dream is about. If I had the money to have a proper home library, how would it be? To be honest, I’m not sure, but I’ll be showing you some ideas that I have found on the internet and that I liked. For today I’ve selected the library below:
What I really like about this one is the natural light and the view. I can imagine myself spending many lazy afternoons in that window seat with a good book and a cup of tea. What do you think? Would you be happy with this library?
See you all tomorrow (hopefully, if I can still use this computer!).
How can you explain 4.620 people giving $320.637 in only 5 days to fund the release of a DVD and the future productions from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries creators? Maybe I should start trying to answer that question by explain why I gave a lot of my money to this Kickstarter project (especially considering that each dollar I gave is worth 2 reais, the currency in Brazil where I live).
For me it much more than getting the DVD, button packs, journal signed by Hank Green and Bernie Su, LBD edition of Pride and Prejudice and a copy of the script of the first 8 episodes of LBD signed by cast members. For me this is about saying: “You people did a great work and you deserve all the praise for this and this money is just a small way to say thank you and, at the same time, help you make more wonderful things for us.” For me, being a backer of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries DVD… and More! is all about believing in the power of art.
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is an absolute phenomenon of the internet (check it on YouTube now if you haven’t yet), and this is because, using the contemporary William Darcy’s words, the story “resonates with people”. Frank McConnel wrote in Storytelling and Mythmaking: Images from Film and Literature, that “stories matter, and matter deeply, because they are the best way to save our lives.” (3) There is no questioning the value of Jane Austen’s most beloved novel, Pride and Prejudice. This story is not alive after 200 years of being first published by chance. Pride and Prejudice has reached a new height in popularity after so many years because people feel connected to it. It is not just the story of Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet falling in love, this is about the human nature, how we are inclined to judge and to be misled in our opinions when we feel offended or that we are better than other people.
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries brought it all up to our days, to the crazy life of technology and fast communication and lack of privacy. No wonder it has been such a huge success. How could we not feel empathy for these characters? It is impossible because they have so much of who we are, just like they had in Austen’s books, but now they have been updated to fit into our world.
I think this explains why so many people are willingly giving their money to guarantee that the DVD will be released and that new productions will be made. Storytelling is an art that has been present in human lives for a very long time and its power only increases. For that reason, when such a great story as Pride and Prejudice is told in such a brilliant way as The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, people will give their money to see it happen, because art is so much more than money will ever be.
Oh, by the way, if you are not a The Lizzie Bennet Diaries DVD… and More! backer yet, there is still time to become one here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/pemberleydigital/the-lizzie-bennet-diaries-dvdand-more
“Why is love intensified by absense?”
From “The Time Traveler’s Wife” by Audrey Niffenegger
Filed under Books, Quotes