What Storm, What Thunder
by Myriam J. A. Chancy
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 05 Oct 2021 | Archive Date 12 Oct 2021
“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.
"In captivating and lyrical prose, Myriam J. A. Chancy brings the story of the Haiti earthquake to life, highlighting the profound ways our connections are deepened by tragedy. What Storm, What Thunder is a beautiful, haunting chorus of voices. This is a heartbreaking book, a striking achievement." - Zinzi Clemmons, author of What We Lose
"Myriam Chancy has written a gorgeous and compulsively readable, page-turner in the most haunting and stunning prose. This novel is exactly what we need during this time of uncertainty and crisis. What Storm, What Thunder's characters reveal to us how to bend and not break when facing loss, grief, and displacement. 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 Chancy is a masterful writer. What Storm, What Thunder is an ecstatic collage of grief in the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake of 2010. 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. Though there is much pain in the novel, Chancy reminds us through her careful narration that none of her characters ever went unloved." - José Olivarez, author of Citizen Illegal
"What Storm, What Thunder refracts the tragic events of the 2010 Haitian earthquake through multiple perspectives and voices. The result is an affecting and immersive—an important—book." - Dan Vyleta, Scotiabank Giller Prize-shortlisted author of The Crooked Maid, Smoke and Soot
"The voices are weaved together effortlessly, each more mesmerizing than the last." - Louisa Ermellino, Publishers Weekly
"What Storm, What Thunder is a striking and formidable novel by one of our most brilliant writers and storytellers. 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
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 7 members
I hope to have the opportunity to select this book for the library book discussion group I lead. I love the way the characters' stories interweave, how family and class affects their lives, and the hold-your-breath tension of the earthquake scenes. I highly recommend this novel and author Myriam J. A. Chancy. I am a library paraprofessional and received an advance copy from #NetGalley. Opinions are my own.
The stories within What Storm, What Thunder encompass such a huge range of human emotion and experience. From faith, compassion, and perseverance to absolute devastation and despair. This book is primarily about survival, not only on a physical level, but how to sustain a life, a family, and a community in the face of a disaster. As I read What Storm, What Thunder I was most impressed by the strength of these characters. They learn what it takes to survive, and even how to help each other in circumstances that I can't even imagine. The setting is both difficult, but also vibrant. The message is clear and ultimately wonderful. Myriam Chancy is a writer of spectacular talent, choosing to tackle the huge emotions inherent to this story. It is executed wonderfully, effectively, and memorably. I found an urgency to this book, having an opportunity to read it immediately after the most recent earthquake and storms to hit Haiti, an occurrence eerily reminiscent of the setting of the book. This story made me understand and feel what the survivors of this recent disaster are facing in a way that made a deep connection.