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May 08, 1996 - Image 11

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1996-05-08

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

anticat krik kraks into Ann Art
By Dean Bakopoulos
Daily Arts Writer
When you are a finalist for the
National Book Award at age 26, people
are going to take notice. Ditto if you
are a writer who chronicles the experi-
ence of one of the richest, most under-
represented cultures in American fic-
n. And ditto again if you possess a
ietic narrative voice that resounds
with heft and emotion. People are
starting to notice Edwidge Danticat,
author of the critically lauded "Krik?
Krak!" (Vintage, 1996), who will be
reading at Shaman Drum this Friday
Danticat, who also penned a novel,
called "Breath, Eyes, Memory," is one
of the most talked-about young writ- .
ers in America, recently making
ranta magazine's list of the top 20
ung American fiction writers.
Indeed, the praise is well deserved.
"Krik? Krak!" is a nearly impeccable Edwidge Danticat was a finalist for the National Book Award at age 26.
collection of short stories that delves
into the emotional undercurrents of metaphors and codes"
life in the violent chaos of the Haitian I3EADINC1 Danticat also said low lit
nation. Danticat also examines the and repressive laws hei
experience of Haitian immigrants in Edwidge Danticat importance of storytelling. S
America. Friday. May 10, 8 p.m. common for one person in a
It's an experience she knows well. SAhdamn nDr Bookstore hood or village to read the
9orn in Haiti, Danticat remained there aloud to everyone else. Sh
until she was 12. At that time she went that shortly after President
to Brooklyn, where her parents were Danticat has definitely been suc- fall from power, a politics
already living and had established a cessful enough. After earning a made its way into a popula
new home for their children. She says Bachelor of Arts in French literature song. The tune spoke of a le
her experiences in Haiti still remain from Barnard College, she went on to fallen from a tree, a subtl
fresh. In an interview with the receive a Master of Fine Arts degree metaphor that enraged the I
Michigan Daily, Danticat said, "Haiti (M.FA.) from Brown University. Her powers when they discovered
seems like such a recent memory, and thesis there became her first novel. ing.
such a strong one. It's so strong that I Danticat said studying for the M.F.A. Danticat's native tongue
often feel like I have never completely gave her an enormous lift as a writer, and she said that may help
left it." She credits that feeling with giving her two years to completely English fiction writr
*ving her such a strong sense of the immerse herself in the craft, as well as approaches English with a
Haitian experience. giving her the fellowship of other playfulness," she said. "I al:
After she moved to Brooklyn, young writers. hard to be clear. I think th
Danticat had to endure all sorts of teas- Still, Danticat said there is a danger think it brings a fresh view
ing and abuse from her classmates. As in M.EA programs. "You have to be guage."
a Haitian immigrant, the jokes about careful of writing only to please others Indeed, in her fledglin
her accent and her culture were strong. in your program," she said. "You have Danticat has definitely 1
But she said she found support from to believe very strongly in your own new freshness and viv
her family and the large Haitian com- voice. It's the only way. You have to American fiction, a new
munity in Brooklyn. One aspect in believe you are the right person to tell shows great promise of
*hich the support from her parents these stories." even further.
asn't as strong was her desire to Stories are a dominant aspect of
become a writer. Haitian culture. "People in Haiti are
Danticat said her parents never dis- very careful with the way they commu-
couraged her from writing, but they nicate. Writing is traceable, so people
did urge her to have some sort of a developed ways of telling things 'under
back-up plan. "It was a bit worrying their breath' - it images and
(her desire to write) because you know Michigan's only full time chess s
that your parents made so many sacri-
fices for you," Danticat said. "As an M 0 0 N L I
immigrant, you have a sense that if you STUDENTS:M
want to stay in this country, you have A D N
be successful, at least in some small "IF YOUR HAIR P E C ]
TO YOU, YOU Friday, May 10th -
E1T jT , SHOULD BE open until midnig
COMING TO US." All merchandiselbo

Wednesday, May 8, 1996 -- The Michigan Daily - 11
)or Bonham's new LP abrasive
By Shannon O'Neill
For the Daily bare hands.
A screaming woman - again. Bonham's voice does stand out
Usually it is a wonderful and beautiful against the din of guitar and drums
experience, but not in the middle of which manages to never create any dis-
every song on an album. Tracy tinct sound. Every track starts off with a
Bonham likes to do this - a lot. whispery tone, and eventually climaxes
Perhaps that is why to a point of yelling
she ends up sound- VIEW "Wow," or "Ah" for
ing like a horrific extended periods of
hybrid of Juliana Tracy Bonham Itime. Nothing like
Hatfield and Alanis >>The Btsrdents of Being Uprighr getting under your
Morrisette. Isndecords listeners' skin like a
"The Burdens of lecherous ringworm.
Being Upright," Can any excuse'
Bonham's first full-length debut, is be made for "Bulldog," in which
extremely annoying. Her voice ranges Bonham deftly explores the question
somewhere between little-girl and ban- of "Who's got the bulldog down
shee, and lyrics like "cellophane is below?" No. "Go to your mama little
thicker than it seems" and "have you chihuahua?" Maybe her insightful
ever heard the sound of your head in the lyrics just fly right over her listeners'
ground," firmly solidify her as stuck heads, or maybe she creates layer
somewhere between the two mentali- upon layer of useless metaphor in
ties. hopes of saying one intelligent thing.
Tracks like "Mother Mother," It is pretty impressive that someone
"Sharks Can't Sleep" and "Brain can make a 12-track album in which
eracy rates Crack" thrive on monotony. Sure, nothing at all is said. How refreshing,
ghten the hooks are understandable, but chanting the confused plight of a woman who is
he said it's "That's the sound of your brain crack- willing to admit, "I'm hungry, I'np
neighbor- ing" does not make you want to bop dirty, I'm losing my mind, every-
newspaper your head as much as rip the CD right thing's fine." Haven't we heard this
e also said out of the stereo and smash it with your one before?

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