Selected Shorts: Edwidge Danticat Writes of Haiti and New York

“Claire of the Sea Light,” performed by Anika Noni Rose and “New York Day Women,” performed by Laurine Towler.

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

This program features works by the prodigiously talented Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat. First, “Claire of the Sea Light,” a tender and heartrending father-daughter story was her own contribution to the anthology "Haiti Noir," which she edited. The volume is part of an intriguing series published by Akashic Books, which collects mystery and crime writing from the great cities of the world. 

The reader is Anika Noni Rose, who won a Tony Award for her performance in the Broadway musical “Caroline, Or Change,” and who is featured in the television miniseries “The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.”

Shorts literary commentator Hannah Tinti observes, “Edwidge Danticat is a master storyteller, carefully weaving past and present together to tell this heartbreaking tale of a father and daughter. I think "Haiti Noir," which includes this story, sheds an important light on the complex history of Haiti and the personal struggles of the people, especially after the earthquake in 2010.”

A lighter side of Danticat is revealed in “New York Day Women,” a term she uses to describe women from the Haitian community who travel into Manhattan to perform childcare and housekeeping services. Her mother was one of these women, and Danticat accidentally encounters her one day, leading this separate life. The impulse to follow her is irresistible, and results in some remarkable discoveries about a woman she thought she knew intimately.

The reader is film and television actor Laurine Towler.

The musical interlude is Benjamin Britten’s opera “Peter Grimes.”  The Selected Shorts theme is Roger Kellaway’s “Come to the Meadow.”

For additional works featured on Selected Shorts, click here.

We’re interested in your response to these programs. Please comment below on this site or make a comment on the Selected Shorts Web site.


Anika Noni Rose and Laurine Towler

Produced by:

Sarah Montague

Comments [3]

Elizabeth from Eastchester, N.Y.

Claire of the Sea Light was an enthralling tale.
The scene at night on the water when the wife shows her husband that she is with child is beautiful & very romantic.
7 yr. old children who commit suicide are
rare. Perhaps her mother was calling her, or she was so desprate, she felt she had no one else to turn to, nowhere else to go.
Both my husband & I were in tears by the end of the story. It 's poignant beauty & saddness made it one of the best stories ever read on Selected Shorts.
Thank you for such an unforgettable reading.

May. 02 2011 03:39 AM

"Ro from Manhattan" is right on the issue of Caribbean accents. Anika lapsed many times, switching between the sounds of the various islands.

Apr. 17 2011 01:50 PM
Ro from Manhattan

Both stories were wonderful and well told. 'Claire of the Sea Light' - was sublime! Thank you.

A little point for Ms. Towler - having lived in the Caribbean for some years, the accent she used was English Caribbean, Jamaican or Trinadadian. Haitian accents are definitely phonetically a French patois.

Apr. 10 2011 02:03 PM

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