Sunday, August 25, 2019

Everything Inside

Everything Inside by Edwidge Danticat
Knopf Doubleday: 8/27/19
eBook review copy; 240 pages
ISBN-13: 9780525521273

Everything Inside by Edwidge Danticat is a very highly recommended collection of eight short stories. All of the characters are either Haitian or have ties to Haiti and are set in locales from Miami and Port-au-Prince to a small unnamed Caribbean country.

Danicat is a natural, lyrical story teller and the writing in Everything Inside is beautiful. The complicated lives of people and their emotional upheavals, tragic events, and unexpected occurrences are keenly observed. Her characters handle their circumstances and loss with the fortitude and stoicism of careful observers. Many of these characters are people who live in one place but are drawn elsewhere. This is a very special, thoughtful collection.

Contents include:
Dosas: Elsie is a home healthcare nursing assistant. She is divorced from Blase who left her for her best friend Olivia. Blase calls her one day, claiming Olivia was kidnapped when back visiting Haiti, and now the kidnappers are demanding a ransom.
In the Old Days: A woman flies from New York to Miami to meet her dying father. She was born after he left and raised by her mother, so this trip will be the first time she meets him.
The Port-au-Prince Marriage Special: A couple who runs a hotel in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, take the young woman who is their son's nanny to the doctor. When she is diagnosed with SIDA, AIDS, they find and pay for her treatment, but their help has unexpected results.
The Gift: Anika and Thomas are former lovers who meet in Miami. The two were having an affair before an earthquake killed his wife and child and left him with an amputated leg. Anika has a gift she wants to give him.
Hot Air Balloons: Lucy and Neah are roommates at college in Miami and grew up with very different backgrounds. When Neah drops out to do international aid work for a Haitian women's organization that she learned about through Lucy, Neah's father blames Lucy for this and asks that she talk to his daughter.
Sunrise, Sunset: Carol is an aging woman who is suffering from dementia, which her husband helps her hide, but her condition is becoming worse and frightening her daughter, Jeanne. This all results in a frightening event which occurs at the christening for Jeanne's son. 
Seven Stories: Two childhood friends meet again as adults in an unnamed Caribbean country where one of them is now the wife of the prime minister.
Without Inspection: An undocumented construction worker is falling to his death and is flashing back through his memories and the defining moments of his life.
Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Knopf Doubleday.

No comments: