Breath, Eyes, Memory
Review posted: 7/20/03
A Haitian native who comes to America at age 12 to
be with her mother. having been raised by her Tante (aunt) Atie, Sophie must learn to
adjust to the new world she is presented with. Danticat, a native Haitian herself,
explores cultural issues, as well as telling the story of a woman’s coming of age in
this haunting and lyrical novel.
As Sophie grows older she is torn between the culture she was raised in and the culture
she has come of age in. One, strict and severe, holding women in the same roles as they
played for a hundred years; the other, tempting her to leave hr culture, her history,
behind and step into a new world, where freedom abounds and she can throw off the fetters
of her past.
Constrained by her traditional mother, her own sexuality and images of the past she has
never confronted, Sophie leaves America and returns to the small Haitian village where
she grew up. Sophie searches for the truth cautiously, trying to find where she belongs
in an ever changing world.
Danticat presents a powerful story of identity and tradition. Her characters are finely,
sparsley drawn, and the story she tells is both beautiful and painful. A sad, intense,