Saturday, November 27, 2021

What Storm, What Thunder by Myrian J.A. Chancy


The way this story is told kind of reminds me of this movie called The Laundromat. WHAT STORM, WHAT THUNDER is set in Haiti just before and then just after the big earthquake in 2010. Through multiple POVs, which all intersect neatly like puzzle pieces, we get an understanding of how the disaster affected people who were just trying to live their day-to-day lives, as well as a kind of overview into the working class and the upperclass, the disparity between them, and how the people are coming out of the shadow of their colonialist history and how they are affected by things like colorism and poverty.

Part of the fun for this book was trying to guess how each relationship would lead to the next. Each chapter is a different POV and some of them are written better than others. I think my favorite POV was probably either Richard, Didier, or Anne. The book both opens and closes with Ma Lou, a fruit vendor, who takes everything full circle. One word of advice: if you enjoy being surprised, don't read the blurb on the back of the book or on Goodreads. In describing the characters' roles, it also sort of spoils some of the relationship twists.

I thought WHAT STORM, WHAT THUNDER was beautifully written and it provides an intimate look at a devastating disaster that a dispassionate news anchor can't really express. It's not a happy book but most of the characters are interesting in their way, and I enjoyed getting to know them. I'm giving it a three because the premise began to wear a little thin after a while and not all of the POVs were equally interesting. By the end of the book, I began skimming over the ones I didn't enjoy as much. I was also kind of confused about how Sonia and Dieudonne were allegedly seeing the specter of death and was unsure if that was supposed to be magic-realism or not. It was very strange.

Overall, though, this is a really good book and I'll be looking for more from this author.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!

3 out of 5 stars

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