Charis welcomes Myriam J. A. Chancy in conversation with Cindy Allman for a celebration of the paperback release of What Storm, What Thunder. 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. This event is co-hosted by the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History.
At the end of a long, sweltering day, 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.
Myriam J. A. Chancy, Ph.D. is a Guggenheim Fellow and HBA Chair of the Humanities at Scripps College. She is the author of “What Storm, What Thunder,” a novel on the 2010 Haiti earthquake (Harper Collins Canada/Tin House USA 2021) which has been named a Best Book of Fall 2021 by Time, The Washington Post, Buzzfeed, The Chicago Tribune, Vulture, Good Housekeeping Parade, LitHub and Harper’s Bazaar among other accolades. Her Past novels include: “The Loneliness of Angels” winner of the 2011 Guyana Prize in Literature Caribbean Award, for Best Fiction 2010; “The Scorpion’s Claw;” and “Spirit of Haiti,” shortlisted in the Best First Book Category, Canada/Caribbean region of the Commonwealth Prize, 2004.
Cindy Allman is a Caribbean Girl Reading the World. A Jamaican living in Trinidad & Tobago, she is a Book Blogger, Book Club Host, Bookstagrammer and founder of the #ReadCaribbean initiative. She hopes to inspire you to read, read widely and read Caribbean.
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American Book Award Winner
Aspen Words Literary Prize Finalist
A NPR, Boston Globe, New York Public Library, Chicago Public Library, and Library Journal Best Book of the Year
“Stunning.” —Margaret Atwood
Raped and colonized, coerced and silenced--this has been the position of Haitian women within their own society, as well as how they have been seen by foreign occupiers. Romanticized symbols of nationhood, they have served, however unwillingly, as a politicized site of contestation between opposing forces.