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From the internationally acclaimed best selling author of Brother I'm Dying a collection of vividly imagined stories about community family and loveRich with hard won wisdom and humanity set in locales from Miami and Port au Prince to a small unnamed country in the Caribbean and beyond Everything Inside is at once wide in scope and intimate as it explores the forces that pull us together or drive us apart sometimes in the same searing instantIn these eight powerful emotionally absorbing stories a romance unexpectedly sparks between two wounded friends; a marriage ends for what seem like noble reasons but with irreparable conseuences; a young woman holds on to an impossible dream even as she fights for her survival; two lovers reunite after unimaginable tragedy both for their country and in their lives; a baby's christening brings three generations of a family to a precarious dance between old and new; a man falls to his death in slow motion reliving the defining moments of the life he is about to loseThis is the indelible work of a keen observer of the human heart—a master at her best


10 thoughts on “Everything Inside Stories

  1. says:

    I really enjoyed these stories They are uiet and careful and every story has a breathtaking moment that is perfectly written The narrators were particularly interesting each one grappling with a sense of displacement of standing apart from the rest of the world There is also a weariness in many of these stories as women surrender to forces beyond the control These stories gave me a lot to think about Danticat remains one of our finest writers


  2. says:

    I just adore Danticat and her writing She zeroes in on those torn between Haiti and their homes in the US Families and death scars inside or out living with what they've seen in the past or experienced in the present when visiting Haiti Things that have changed their lives in big or small ways Emotions they carry inside themselves Eight stories and I loved them all Some were intense than others but many seem to hinge on a decision that they either make on the spot or have made in the past The author has such an insight into families and of course into Haiti its current political climate and its past Her stories are always interesting and give one a glimpse into a cou try that many don't know aboutARC from Edelweiss


  3. says:

    Everything Inside is a beautiful book of 8 short stories about Haïtian people in varying degrees of distress due to violence diaspora and broken hearts Each story is eually poignant talking about displacement for immigrants to Brooklyn and Miami I grew up in Miami and recall the arrival of boats from Haïti during the two Duvalier regimes described in the final story Without Inspection I did not live near Little Haïti however and only came into rare contact with these refugees Nevertheless their stories always moved me so much so that in my junior year in high school I took a trip with a friend's church which showed us most of the western coast of the island and featured a week or was it 10 days? on the smaller island of La Gonave The countryside that Danticat describes in Seven Stories matches perfectly with my visual and olfactory memories of that fateful trip I enjoyed Dosas the first story with its twist at the end In fact all of the stories are rich in Creole culture and a true pleasure to readA few uotes to whet your appetitesDosasFrom her experience working with the weak and the sick she’d learned that the disease you ignore is the one that kills you so she tried her best to have everything out in the openMy father no longer looked like he was sleeping A sliver of white was visible through his half open left eyelid A veiled world remained hidden behind that small gap a world I had never been privy to a world I’d never know In the old days coins might have been placed over his eyes to keep me from seeing even this much of the windows to his soulThe Port au Prince Marriage SpecialThis is in part a guide and hotelier’s job If guests show up hungry you feed them If they want drink you ply them If they want to be left alone you make yourself scarce If they want company you entertain If they are lovelorn you find them love And if they show up sick you find them treatment uickly before they expire on your watchI knew what she was thinking These half assed outsiders these no longer fully Haitian almost blan foreigner type people these dyaspora with their mushy thinking why does it all come back to one kind of love with them the kind of love you keep talking about rather than the kind of love that shatters you to pieces? Don’t these die ass poor aahs these dyaspowa and dyasporèn these outside minded kings and ueens know that there are many other ways to show love than to be constantly talking about it?Hot Air Ballons“I am too easily swayed by every story I hear or see or witness especially the tragic ones” she said “I think this is going to be the story of my life I’m going to be the girl who is too easily swayed by other people’s stories” “I think you’re going to be the girl who helps other people” I said “A Mother Teresa type”The Tainos a Caribbean native tribe indigenous to Haïti and nearby islands believed themselves to have originally been cave people who would turn into stone when touched by sunlight They knew the risk when they stepped into the light but they did it anyway in order to create a new world a world that continues to exist because we are still here I thought that the next time we were chatting while half asleep I might tell Neah that story In the meantime while she was still asleep I lowered my right wrist to the crevice between her breasts and let it rest there for a moment And briefly very briefly my pain and hers embracedSunrise SunsetDoesn’t she realize that the life she is living is an accident of fortune? Doesn’t she know that she is an exception in this world where it is normal to be unhappy to be hungry to work nonstop and earn next to nothing and to suffer the whims of everything from tyrants to hurricanes and earthuakes?Sometimes you just have to shake the devil off you whatever that devil is Even if you don’t feel like living for yourself you have to start living for your child for your childrenIt would be appropriate if only she could make herself believe that this is what her daughter is actually doing It would be a fitting close to her family life or at least to life with her children You are always saying hello to them while preparing them to say goodbye to you You are always dreading the separations while cheering them on to get bigger smarter to crawl babble walk speak to have birthdays that you hope you’ll live to see that you pray they’ll live to see Jeanne will now know what it’s like to live that way to have a part of yourself walking around unattached to you and to love that part so much that you sometimes feel as though you were losing your mind Seven StoriesShe pointed to some coils of light winding their way throughout the city They were people hundreds of them dressed in white and carrying candles as they walked toward the port and the sea “It’s called a shedding” she said “As you walk to the sea you shed from both your body and spirit all the awful things that have happened to you in the previous year”On Three Kings’ Eve my parents used to make me leave my shoes by my bedroom door for an angel to fill with rolls of hair ribbons while I slept Before I went to sleep they would tell me about a bad decision made by this angel who they said looked like whoever is the most beautiful woman I know This angel had been asked by the Three Kings to join them on their journey to bring gold frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus and for some reason she had turned them down The angel regrets her decision to this day my mother said which is why she brings small presents to children on the eve of Three Kings’ Day After we met I wanted to be her angel and give Callie all my ribbons Somehow I sensed that something about her needed to be bundled and held tight Maybe she still needed to be bundled and held tight Maybe that’s why she’d held on to those ribbons for so longWithout InspectionThere are loves that outlive lovers Some version of these words had been his prayer as he fell Darline would now have two of those He would also have two Darline and Paris He would keep trying to look for them He would continue to hum along with Darline’s song and keep whispering in Paris’s ear He would also try to guide Darline back to the beach to look for others like himMy List of 2020 Pulitzer Candidates blog about the 2020 Pulitzer


  4. says:

    4 ½ stars rounded up because I listened to the audiobook which is brilliantly narrated by Robin Miles “The difference between her and them was as stark as the gulf between those who’d escaped a catastrophe unscathed and others who’d been forever mutilated by it” This was such a wonderful and poignant collection of short storiesIn a interview on LitHub Edwige Danticat said that one of the reasons why she loves the short story form is that it allows her “to magnify smaller moments and to linger on these small epiphanies in the smaller interactions that mean so much” and indeed each one of her stories seems to prolong a particular moment in her characters' lives Given the brevity of her stories Danticat doesn't wast any words And yet while her writing could be described as both economic and simple her prose also demonstrated a richness of expression that resonated with the feelings and scenarios experienced by her charactersThrough the wide range of her narratives Danticat examines similar themes in very different ways Within her stories Danticat navigates the way in which bonds are tested broken or strengthened in times of crisis Most of Danticat's narratives are concerned in particular with the diasporic experiences of Haitians in America and she emphasises the feelings of longing loneliness and displacement experienced by those who are forced to adapt to a new country and a different culture with poignancy and clarity They are never reduced to the status of 'outsider' and while their shared heritage does mean that they may have had similar experiences each one of them has a distinctive voice and a particular relationships with the countries they currently inhabitWith seeming ease Danticat imbues her characters with their own history and personalities so that within a few pages we would feel as if we'd know them personally so much so that to define them as characters seems almost an injustice Within these narratives the ordinary moments that make up everyday life can carry both enlightening and tragic overtones These stories centre on the characters' anxieties hopes and fears they may harbour for themselves or their loved onesIn “Dosas” Elsie a nurse’s assistant is betrayed by her husband and her own best friend Months later her now ex husband calls her and begs her to help pay the ransom for his kidnapped girlfriend who happens to be Elsie's former friend His increasingly desperate calls threaten to disrupt the course of her life In “The Port au Prince Marriage Special” a woman who has returned to Haiti to run a hotel with her husband is confronted with her own privilege when her young nanny is diagnosed with AIDS; the woman has to reconcile herself with her own misjudgement regarding her nanny's mother and with her preference for a white doctor over a local oneIn “Hot Air Balloons” we observe the bond between two young women one of which has started to work for Leve a women's organisation in which she witnesses the most brutal aspects of humanity Still even when we are presented with these stark accounts of abuse or suffering the story maintains a sense of hope in the genuine relationship between these two womenAnother story that examines the bond between two women is “Seven Stories” After publishing a short story a writer is contacted by her childhood friend Callie the daughter of the prime minister of an unnamed island After her father's assassination Callie was forced to flee from the island and years later our narrator is invited by her friend who has by now married the island’s new prime minister “I didn’t have to think too much about this I already knew I am the girl—the woman—who is always going to be looking for stability a safe harbor I am never going to forget that I can easily lose everything I have including my life in one instant But this is not what I told her I told her that I was going to be the kind of friend she could always count on” The characters in Danticat's stories are often confronted with impossible choices Within their realities they are forced to contend against betrayal illnesses the devastating earthuake of 2010 medical malpractice kidnappings and the risks that come with being 'undocumented' They are made vulnerable by their status or haunted by the knowledge that the world can be a terrible place Still while there were many moments of unease the stories always maintain a vibrancy that made them hard to put down Her characters demonstrated empathy love and compassion so that her stories never felt bleak or hopelessI can't recommend this collection enough These stories were both upsetting and moving and within each narrative we follow how a certain 'change' forces each character to reassess their own existence The crisis they experience are depicted with subtlety and consideration Danticat interrogates serious themes identity mortality grief whilst focusing on ordinary moments Phone conversations and dinners become the backdrop for larger debates Her narratives illuminate the complexities faced by those who are born or raised in a country that is now in crisisA heart rendering collection of stories that provided me with a lot food for thought and which I will be definitely reading again2nd readingI have now read it again and I found as compelling as the first time This may be the first collection of short stories I've ever re read and it surprised by how many details had stayed with me from the first reading Read reviews on my blog   View all my reviews on Goodreads


  5. says:

    Updated October 2019 Everything Inside is the BookOfCinz Book Club pick for October and the first short stories collection we have ever read In re reading this collection I feel in love with all the characters and their stories definitely a must read August 2019 Everything Inside is a strong collection of stories filled with complex characters all dealing with major issues trying to navigate life with Haiti being sometimes at the center of the narrative I am such a fan of Danticat's writing and I found myself being immersed in this collection and the lives of the people represented on the pages With eight stories in the collection it is hard to zone in on one that truly floored me because every single one of these stories I rated either 4 or 5 Danticat knows Haiti and I know when I pick up her book I will be longing for a place I have never visited The stories explore immigration family life relationships poverty courage and shame These stories are explored in a such a real way and vulnerable way I particularly liked Dosas The Port Au Prince Marriage Special The Gift and Seven Stories These stories really moved me because of the topics explored and how complex the characters were From the young privilege Haitian who wants move to Haiti and help change the country to the mistress trying to rekindle her affair with her lover who lost his child and wife to the earthuake Truly an amazing collection of stories that will stick with you Thanks Knopf for this ARC


  6. says:

    I pick up an Edwidge Danticat book to dive deeply into uiet painful emotions endured bravely and this latest collection delivers on that expectation marvelously Loss and reconciliation haunt every page and while not as gut wrenching as say her memoir Brother I'm Dying the eight stories presented here all leave you wounded in the best possible way Danticat's true genius is in the way she hold back information without it feeling like a gimmick This techniue is at its best in what is perhaps my favorite story in the whole collection The Gift which recounts the tale of two former lovers reuniting in the wake of the tragic Haitian earthuake I won't spoil it for you but suffice it to say that the stakes shift dramatically throughout The rest of the stories do a version of this as well We meet ghosts and travel to unnamed islands seeped in personal and national tragedy; parents and children do their timeless dance of support and neglect; death plays a large role In each instance the core of the experience is buried only to be elegantly unfolded after Danticat has acclimated the reader to the uotidian circumstances present in each story It's in this way that with Everything Inside Danticat seems to be arguing that the most important moments aren't the maruee ones—the ones that we'll recount for years to come Real life happens around those moments and it's these uieter moments that we—and the characters throughout this collection—have to learn to inhabit and endure Still some of the stories seemed to keep their distance which made it difficult for me to fully connect At times I wanted to see a little vulnerability from the various protagonists and a little less stoicism in the face of unimaginable tragedy A lot of these stories occupy the space of a recent tragedy and that's always going to be a tough spot to write about I'd liked to revisit these characters a few years down the line to see what they've learned in the interim and how they've changed Overall though I greatly enjoyed this collection and can't wait to recommend it to all my friends If you liked this make sure to follow me on Goodreads for reviews


  7. says:

    I've said this and I'll say it again short story collections are usually hit or miss for me Although I love the genre I always end up liking some none or most of the stories therein This collection is an exception to the some none and most rule as every single story here is a literary achievementI've read just about everything Edwidge Danticat has written from Krik? Krak to The Dew Breaker to Breathe Eyes Memory and everything in between Everything Insideis a wonderful collection of eight short stories all featuring characters from the Haitian diaspora living in Miami Her characters deal with death love and loss and their lives are complicated Each story is well written and thought out with beautiful language that leaps off the page Favorites here include Dosas a story of romantic entanglement and betrayal featuring a husband wife and a female lover; In the Old Days about a woman who meets her dying father for the first time and Without Inspection a harrowing tale that narrates a Haitian emigre's final thoughts as he falls 40 stories from a building to his death Five stars Hands up way way up


  8. says:

    45 Nearly perfect


  9. says:

    This book compels me to give it five stars I enjoyed every single story in the collection Every story is different but each of them was impossible to put down once I had started reading it Whether sad happy funny or tragic there is one thing that seemed to me to be present in every story hope


  10. says:

    I have read all of Danticat's book most memorable being KRIK KRAK and CLAIRE OF THE SEA LIGHT and been very moved by all except this one It has all the same themes displacement love loss extreme poverty betrayal diaspora political persecution all told in her uncluttered cutting to the bone style Butbut the characters didn't move me didn't get under my skin as in her other books I struggle with giving this acclaimed writer only three stars instead of the full force of a five but so be it I must take responsibility for my own frame of mind Perhaps I am over the top disgusted with man's inhumanity to man and this was of the sameStill I recommend it Help change my opinion