A Buzzfeed, Good Housekeeping, Vulture, & Library Journal Best Book of Fall
“Sublime. A striking and formidable novel by one of our most brilliant writers and storytellers.” —Edwidge Danticat
The earth had buckled and, in that movement, all that was not in its place fell upon the earth’s children, upon the blameless as well as the guilty, without discrimination.
At the end of a long, sweltering day, as markets and businesses begin to close for the evening, an earthquake of 7.0 magnitude shakes the capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince. Award-winning author Myriam J. A. Chancy masterfully charts the inner lives of the characters affected by the disaster—Richard, an expat and wealthy water-bottling executive with a secret daughter; the daughter, Anne, an architect who drafts affordable housing structures for a global NGO; a small-time drug trafficker, Leopold, who pines for a beautiful call girl; Sonia and her business partner, Dieudonné, who are followed by a man they believe is the vodou spirit of death; Didier, an emigrant musician who drives a taxi in Boston; Sara, a mother haunted by the ghosts of her children in an IDP camp; her husband, Olivier, an accountant forced to abandon the wife he loves; their son, Jonas, who haunts them both; and Ma Lou, the old woman selling produce in the market who remembers them all. Artfully weaving together these lives, witness is given to the desolation wreaked by nature and by man.
Brilliantly crafted, fiercely imagined, and deeply haunting, What Storm, What Thunder is a singular, stunning record, a reckoning of the heartbreaking trauma of disaster, and—at the same time—an unforgettable testimony to the tenacity of the human spirit.
About the Author
Myriam J. A. Chancy is a Haitian-Canadian-American writer, the HBA Chair in the Humanities at Scripps College in Claremont, California, and a Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
Extraordinary. . . . lyrical. . . . dazzling. . . . Each of the voices entrances, thanks to Chancy’s beautiful prose and rich themes. This is not to be missed. — Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
Unforgettable. . . . a devastating, personal and vital account. — Kirkus, Starred Review
Remarkable. . . . Every element of the writing and characterization delivers a poignant experience. — Booklist
A soaring, heartbreaking symphony. — Library Journal
The voices are weaved together effortlessly, each more mesmerizing than the last. — Louisa Ermellino - Publishers Weekly
Poignant. — Poets & Writers
Lending her voice to ten survivors whose lives were indelibly altered by the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Myriam J. A. Chancy’s sublime choral novel not only describes what it was like for her characters before, during, and after that heartrending day, she also powerfully guides us towards further reflection and healing. — Edwidge Danticat, author of Everything Inside
A beautiful, haunting chorus of voices. This is a heartbreaking book, a striking achievement. — Zinzi Clemmons, author of What We Lose
A gorgeous and compulsively readable page-turner in the most haunting and stunning prose. If you love the works of Jesmyn Ward, Edwidge Danticat, and J. M. Coetzee, this is the book for you! Absolutely breathtaking! — Angie Cruz, author of Dominicana
Myriam J. A. Chancy is a masterful writer. The book is devastating and tender, but it is not a spectacle of sadness—it is a show of humanity and care in the midst of great violence. — José Olivarez, author of Citizen Illegal
An affecting and immersive—an important—book. — Dan Vyleta, Scotiabank Giller Prize-shortlisted author of The Crooked Maid, Smoke and Soot