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Short stories have to do all the same things as a novel (tell a captivating tale, make you feel connected to the characters), but in a fraction of the page count. And then they have to accomplish that again and again, until a whole collection is filled with worthy stories. And yet, so often one or two miss the mark. But readers who took a chance on Edwidge Danticat's latest, Everything Inside, had nothing but positive things to say about the Brother, I'm Dying author's eight stories centered on family, love, community, and loss.
As Danticat previously told MarieClaire.com, "In short stories, you do your best to make every word count, so you have to pour yourself into so many of these moments." Indeed, #ReadWithMC reviewers could tell Danticat made sure each word was thoughtfully chosen, each story painstakingly crafted, in an effort to transport readers into the world of her hometown Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Here, a few #ReadWithMC members explain exactly what they loved about Everything Inside.
"Everything Inside is the perfect name for this collection, because everything to create an entire world, an entire human, an entire life is inside each of these stories. It reminded me at times of when I first read Alice Munro. There's something so impressive about fitting in so much into so few words. And every story in the collection is a gem. I also loved how she tackled grief in so many of these stories—not always in the ways you’d think, either. Definitely a writer I want to visit more in the future." —@shelfbyshelf
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"Everything Inside is a strong collection of stories filled with complex characters, all dealing with major issues, trying to navigate life with Haiti being sometimes at the center of the narrative. I am such a fan of Danticat's writing, and I found myself immersed in this collection and the lives of the people represented on the pages.
With eight stories in the collection, it is hard to zone in on one that truly floored me because every single one of these stories I rated either 4 or 5. Danticat knows Haiti and I know when I pick up her book, I will be longing for a place I have never visited. The stories explore immigration, family life, relationships, poverty, courage, and shame. These stories are explored in a such a real way and vulnerable way.
I particularly liked "Dosas," "The Port-Au-Prince Marriage Special," "The Gift," and "Seven Stories." These stories really moved me because of the topics explored and how complex the characters were. From the young privilege Haitian who wants to move to Haiti and help change the country to the mistress trying to rekindle her affair with her lover who lost his child and wife to the earthquake...Truly an amazing collection of stories that will stick with you." —@BookofCinz on Goodreads (opens in new tab)
"Everything Inside by Edwidge Danticat is an absolutely stunning short story collection. I like every single story. Every one! All of them! I’m pretty sure this is the first time where not a single story has been boring or weird or meh. Danticat is Haitian-American, as are most of her characters. The story settings range from New York to Miami and Port-au-Prince to an unnamed Caribbean island. Many of the stories are from the perspective of an immigrant.
I found Danticat’s writing to be forthright and striking. In the story "Without Inspiration," a man falls to his death and reflects on how he got there during the fall, including fleeing Haiti and being rescued by his future love when he washes up on a beach. In the story "Sunrise, Sunset," a daughter struggles with postpartum depression as her mom battles dementia. It all comes to a head the day of the grandson’s baptism. In the story "The Gift," a woman meets up with her ex-lover much later after an earthquake changed everything for both of them.
Danticat’s storytelling is superb. I was interested in every story, and found a reason to care about what happened to every character. She’s an extremely talented writer. I can’t recommend this collection enough! Absolutely loved it and can’t wait to read more of her work." —@jennareadsbooks
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"Writing in beautiful and elegant language, Edwidge Danticat’s new collection, Everything Inside, is an intimate and moving eight-story collection that centers on love, loss, struggles, and the experiences of women. With each story Danticat presents characters and situations that will grip you into another facet of the lives, hopes, dreams, and realities of women in and from Haiti. Her perfect pacing and seamless narrative make each character’s destiny seem inevitable. I promise your heart won’t leave this book untouched.
My year of Danticat has truly been an amazing journey. With each book, story, and character I was able to bear witness as she established herself as a brilliant storyteller. If you enjoyed Krik? Krak! you will love this collection. If you haven’t read Krik? Krak add that to your TBR list." —@NeverWithoutaBook on Goodreads (opens in new tab)
Missed out on our September pick? Starting October 1, we'll be reading New York Times bestselling author Ruta Sepetys' The Fountains of Silence. Learn more about the book (opens in new tab) and read an exclusive interview with the author here (opens in new tab).
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Rachel Epstein is an editor at Marie Claire, where she writes and edits culture, politics, and lifestyle stories ranging from op-eds to profiles to ambitious packages. She also manages the site’s virtual book club, #ReadWithMC. Offline, she’s likely watching a Heat game, finding a new coffee shop, or analyzing your cousin's birth chart—in no particular order.
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