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  • Writer's pictureEvangeline Lawson

Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat


"My angel," she said, "I would like to know that by word or by example I have taught you love. I must tell you that I do love your mother. Everything I love about you, I loved in her first. (Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat)

Only a few chapters in and you can tell you're most likely in for an emotional ride as Sophie finds out by accident that she is to be sent away from the village in Haiti, which she's known her entire life, to live with her mother in New York.

So far the dialogue between characters evokes as much emotion as the plot itself, which keeps you turning the pages to see what happens next.


Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat explores the lasting effects of generational trauma on a family of women through the eyes of Sophie, the main character, a young woman who was forced to adapt to change as she moved from everything she knew in her small Haitian town to New York.

This story, which is primarily based in Haiti, is cloaked in rich tradition, but doesn't neglect the social and political climate. The narrative is unifying across cultures for all that it is: pain, love and beauty intermingled with the impact of oppression. The trauma that is perpetuated throughout the family can be triggering but does illustrate the means to which these women persevere.

Breath, Eyes, Memory is definitely emotional, but it is a wonderful introduction to the work of Edwidge Danticat who performs magic with her words, while teaching about the relevance of Caribbean culture to all of us.

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