Select one of the keywords
Breath, Eyes, Memory    by Edwidge Danticat order for
Breath, Eyes, Memory
by Edwidge Danticat
Order:  USA  Can
Random House, 1998 (1994)
Hardcover, Paperback

Read an Excerpt

* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Breath, Eyes, Memory is the poignant story of Sophie, a product of a rape in the cane fields of Haiti. Raised by her Aunt Atie 'til the age of twelve, she is sent to join her mother in New York. Never recovered from the brutality of the rape, her mother tells Sophie of a testing by her own mother to be sure she stayed pure until her marriage. She inflicts this testing on her daughter until Sophie rebels and leaves home. But by then the damage has been done, and it has left both women sexually repressed. Told by her grandmother that 'we must graze where we are tied,' Sophie tries to come to grips with living in America - and with having a husband to whom she cannot respond, and a girl child she feels she might not raise properly.

This is a poetic tale of four women who are bound by blood ties and by the culture of Haiti to live their lives intertwined, and with what happened before as part of their heritage. Sophie says, 'I come from a place where breath, eyes and memory are one, a place from which you carry your past like the hair on your head. Where women return to their children as butterflies or as tears in the eyes of statues that their daughters pray to.' The wisdom of the women in this book reflects the lives they lived, and reminds us that not every kernel of knowledge comes from the schoolroom. There are many truths in Breath, Eyes, Memory that apply to our own lives; it's a powerful first novel.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Contemporary books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews