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    I purchased Claire of the Sea Light because I'd never read a novel set in Haiti. I was intrigued with the topic and setting because I've supported an orphanage in Port-Au-Prince since the January 2010 earthquake and was mentally marking the 4th anniversary of this tragic event. The writing is powerfully evocative of both the country's abject poverty within a setting of shimmering beauty, and a vibrant pulse of humanity and raw life. The actual plot concerning Nozias' decision to give Claire away, and her disappearance on the evening of her seventh birthday amidst the aftermath of a local tragedy, is more of a literary device than a compelling narrative in itself. It contributes suspense, but in the end, it's not the real story. It is a connecting thread which gives the author opportunity to explore a father's heart, and tell the stories of the interconnected people in this community. I was left with an impression of the tragedy and desperation of poverty but also of hard work, resourcefulness and the warm love the Haitian people have for each other and their country. The language, interspersed with bits of translated Haitian Creole, is at times almost dreamy, evocative of a sun-soaked paradise, but it's too raw to be sentimental. I felt like I'd been on a trip to rural Haiti. I recommend this book.


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