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What Storm, What Thunder

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At the end of a long, sweltering day, as markets and businesses begin to close for the evening, 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 d At the end of a long, sweltering day, as markets and businesses begin to close for the evening, 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. Artfully weaving together these lives, witness is given to the desolation wreaked by nature and by man. 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.


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At the end of a long, sweltering day, as markets and businesses begin to close for the evening, 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 d At the end of a long, sweltering day, as markets and businesses begin to close for the evening, 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. Artfully weaving together these lives, witness is given to the desolation wreaked by nature and by man. 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.

30 review for What Storm, What Thunder

  1. 5 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Audiobook… narrated by Ella Turenne ….11 hours Pulled me in instantly!!! The audio experience is outstanding. The prose - English - was mixed with a little Haitian Creole … the main language of Haiti. The voice narrator, Ella Turenne’s dialect of Creole language was ‘gorgeous’!!! The ‘story’ is crushingly heavyhearted….but it was impossible not to be captured by how impressive and lovely the language was being delivered. The characters and stories of those who survived this ‘nightmare hurricane’, Audiobook… narrated by Ella Turenne ….11 hours Pulled me in instantly!!! The audio experience is outstanding. The prose - English - was mixed with a little Haitian Creole … the main language of Haiti. The voice narrator, Ella Turenne’s dialect of Creole language was ‘gorgeous’!!! The ‘story’ is crushingly heavyhearted….but it was impossible not to be captured by how impressive and lovely the language was being delivered. The characters and stories of those who survived this ‘nightmare hurricane’, demonstrated courage and offered to help everyone. Every man - woman - and child - were united- together. Their spirits were rooted in love - customs - and more love. Beautiful tribute to those who lived - survived - suffered - fought back - took actions - and dared to keep dreaming for a better life.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    On Jan. 12, 2010, Haiti experienced a devastating earthquake that killed 300,000 and left millions destitute. I recall that earthquake and remember feeling very terrible for those poor people. Author Myriam J.A. Chancy has created an impressive novel that illuminates how that event crushed the souls of Haitians. That event is akin to the USA’s 9/11. All Haitians remember exactly what they were doing and where they were when the earthquake hit or when they heard of the earthquake. Those who lived On Jan. 12, 2010, Haiti experienced a devastating earthquake that killed 300,000 and left millions destitute. I recall that earthquake and remember feeling very terrible for those poor people. Author Myriam J.A. Chancy has created an impressive novel that illuminates how that event crushed the souls of Haitians. That event is akin to the USA’s 9/11. All Haitians remember exactly what they were doing and where they were when the earthquake hit or when they heard of the earthquake. Those who lived in Haiti are still haunted. Chancy tells that story through ten people. Each character’s story shows the levels of grief and tragedy endured from “the Event”. Some of the characters are interconnected. Chancy also includes Haitians living abroad and how their horror was multiplied by not being able to contact anyone in Haiti: are my friends and family alive? Are they hurt? The first story, for me, was emotionally shattering: a mother who witnesses her two girls consumed by the earth and her little boy crushed. Her husband has left her, and she is alone, mourning with such force that your heart breaks. She is left alone in the dangerous displaced-person’s camp. Another character in this camp is a 15-year-old girl who hides from the packs of pillaging boys and men. Rape is frequent. Chancy weaves other characters in the story in differing layers of desperation. I was crushed while listening to the audio of this story. Ella Turenne narrates the story with emotion. If I have one quibble, it’s that she used her voice for male characters’ thoughts. If they spoke, she used a male voice, but their inner musings were her own. I strongly recommend this story, either in written form or the audio. That said, I wished I would have read it since I am more of a visual learner. Chancy’s prose are beautiful. This story illuminated the devastating impact that continues to ravage Haiti.

  3. 5 out of 5

    BookOfCinz

    The author said, This novel is dedicated to the 250,000 to 300,000 individuals estimated to have perished in January 12, 2010, earthquake in Haiti. When you pick up a book and this is the dedication you know you are in for an emotional, moving, tender and brutal read. That is what you are in when you pick up What Storm, What Thunder / Told from the perspectives of different characters living and working in Port-au-Prince when the earthquake of 7.0 magnitude shook. The author takes us into the The author said, This novel is dedicated to the 250,000 to 300,000 individuals estimated to have perished in January 12, 2010, earthquake in Haiti. When you pick up a book and this is the dedication you know you are in for an emotional, moving, tender and brutal read. That is what you are in when you pick up What Storm, What Thunder / Told from the perspectives of different characters living and working in Port-au-Prince when the earthquake of 7.0 magnitude shook. The author takes us into the deepest part of their lives as they experience this disaster and how they try to rebuild what is left of their lives. The story is written from the POVs of over eight persons, while we hear about them, they also tell us about the other characters we’ve heard from. Myriam Chancy masterfully relates what is happen before, during and after the earthquake. I could not put down this novel. It took a whole week and a half for me to write this review because no words can describe what it is like reading this book. I love Haiti, I love how their history impacts world history and my heart breaks for how as a country they do not get the respect they deserve. I wish I could read every piece of Haitian literature…. So here we are. When I read the blurb that this book would be written about the disastrous earthquake, I knew I had to read it. I also knew it would be a very hard read. Aside from a story in Edwidge Danticat Everything Inside I cannot remember reading about the earthquake in contemporary fiction. I was ALL for it. I also feel like nothing could prepare me for the read. I think the author did such an amazing job in telling these stories with care. It was never trauma porn. We hear from a Old vendor who works in the market, her only son who is now an expat left and never contacted her, her granddaughter who works for an NGO, a Trinidadian drug pusher, a Haitian musician living in Boston and a mother who lost all her children. We get their back story, where they were, how they ended up in Haiti… and what happens during the earthquake. A well crafted beautiful book that EVERYONE should read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    RoshReviews

    In a Nutshell: This would have been a fabulous book had I chosen to read it than hear it. In 2010, an earthquake of magnitude 7.0 hit near Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. With the epicentre just some kilometres away from the capital, multiple aftershocks, a resultant localised tsunami, and an overcrowded and impoverished country, the devastation was intense with three million people affected and at least 150000 thousand dead. Author Miriam Chancy brings us the fictional stories of various ch In a Nutshell: This would have been a fabulous book had I chosen to read it than hear it. In 2010, an earthquake of magnitude 7.0 hit near Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. With the epicentre just some kilometres away from the capital, multiple aftershocks, a resultant localised tsunami, and an overcrowded and impoverished country, the devastation was intense with three million people affected and at least 150000 thousand dead. Author Miriam Chancy brings us the fictional stories of various characters affected by this factual disaster. All the stories are written as the individual’s narrative of his/her life in general, and the impact of the earthquake on them. The characters come from various social backgrounds, lending a greater diversity to their experiences. Some narratives are in first person, the rest in third person. Some begin with the earthquake itself, some others end with the earthquake. Some are stuck in an emotional impasse from the aftermath, some others look at the future with hope, like a phoenix waiting to rise from the ashes. All the stories intersect partly in their characters. So at the start, it will take you a bit of time to know the various names, but as the links establish and re-establish themselves, the depth of the impact increases. The structuring of the book is thus impeccable. Unlike what you would imagine, it doesn’t become depressing, though there are many hard-hitting scenes. What I appreciate most is that there was no trauma porn or misery porn. There’s a greater undertone of poignancy than pessimism, a greater importance to experience than exaggeration. Even beyond the earthquake, the book provides a great glimpse into Haitian life, culture and beliefs. Even though some of the characters are expats, their stories are interwoven strongly with their Haitian background. My favourites were the tales of Richard (a businessman dealing in water bottling, bonus points for the mention of farmer suicides in India) and Didier (a dog-loving cab driver in Boston.) Why then my lower rating? Because of the audiobook. Though the narrator was pretty good, the audio version failed me because of these reasons: 👉 Each chapter contained one character perspective, which was anywhere between 1 to 2 hours long. So taking a break in between chapters was tedious, especially if a narrative had just begun. Pausing midway broke the emotional connect and the comprehensional flow. 👉 Because of the multiple characters, it took me a bit of time to get into the narrative. The start especially felt very muddled up. 👉 Every character is voiced by the same narrator. This becomes very confusing when there is the first person narrative for a male character and you keep hearing the female voice. Having multiple narrators (one for each character), or at least having one male and one female narrator matching the gender of the characters, would have worked far better for me. All in all, I can feel that this was a great piece of writing. And I am sure it would have worked better for me had I been reading it. As an audiobook, I can only rate it a 3. As a book, it deserves at least a 4. (A more precise rating would be possible only when I actually read it.) So I’ll just mark it as a 3.5 for now. Do give it a try if you are looking for a very unusual anthology, but remember… read it. My thanks to Orange Sky Audio and NetGalley for the audio ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review. *********************** Join me on the Facebook group, Readers Forever! , for more reviews, book-related discussions and fun.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    An intense, concentrated reading experience, this novel links ten people and their experiences during the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Chancy provides a window into a culture and nation through their shared losses. Each person is distinct and memorable, with some characters appearing in other stories - as a brother or friend, father or daughter until there is a sense of familiarity mixed with the horror and desperation. Unforgettable.

  6. 4 out of 5

    2TReads

    Absolute beauty. Chancy has done an exquisite job of rendering the soul of her characters that expressly speak to the spirit of the Haitian people, their resilience, strength, and beauty. A MUST READ!!!!! 'Douz. When something terrible happens to you, it feels like a dream at first. Not until the pain and panic settle does it seem real'– Taffia What Storm, What Thunder is a heart read. A representation of the lives of the Haitian people lost in the devastating earthquake of 2010. The care with whi Absolute beauty. Chancy has done an exquisite job of rendering the soul of her characters that expressly speak to the spirit of the Haitian people, their resilience, strength, and beauty. A MUST READ!!!!! 'Douz. When something terrible happens to you, it feels like a dream at first. Not until the pain and panic settle does it seem real'– Taffia What Storm, What Thunder is a heart read. A representation of the lives of the Haitian people lost in the devastating earthquake of 2010. The care with which Chancy crafts these characters and experiences is a beacon of the intimate bond she has with her country, her homeland; their resilience and spirituality. At the heart of this novel is connection, the connections of family, friends, and community. A connection to self and country that even when unwanted, even when too harsh, are exactly from where we draw strength. Created with tenderness, heart, reflection, knowledge, and empathy, these characters and their stories take flight from pages to mind, connecting souls to the indelible that marks our shared humanity. What Storm, What Thunder is what depth, what meaning, what beauty even in the sadness, loss, violence, and survival you get when an author is steeped in the country and people she writes. This book must be read. These stories should be cherished.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mainlinebooker

    There are some books you read that strike you at your core, opening your eyes to a situation that you sympathized with but never clearly grasped. As the saying goes, you can never truly understand unless you have been in the same shoes. Ironically this book follows the horrid earthquake of 2010, while meanwhile the citizens of Haiti have just experienced another grim deadly episode that has completely disrupted their lives and economy. I found myself head over heals with this brilliantly created There are some books you read that strike you at your core, opening your eyes to a situation that you sympathized with but never clearly grasped. As the saying goes, you can never truly understand unless you have been in the same shoes. Ironically this book follows the horrid earthquake of 2010, while meanwhile the citizens of Haiti have just experienced another grim deadly episode that has completely disrupted their lives and economy. I found myself head over heals with this brilliantly created expose of what REALLY happens to the inhabitants when disaster strikes. Told through a number of voices, its emotional power had an extraordinary effect on me through its craftsmanship , and its powerful prose depicting the agonizing shock and suffering from this calamity. Yet, not to scare you , it also shines a light on the resilience of people in times of disaster. These voices are not for the faint of heart, but they demand to be heard. I would read this heartbreaking novel again and again. If you really want to put yourselves in someone else's shoes, this book is a MUST.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

    The best part of this book is figuring out the relationships between characters so don't read the blurb on Goodreads if you want to be surprised. GR review to come, or read it early HERE. The best part of this book is figuring out the relationships between characters so don't read the blurb on Goodreads if you want to be surprised. GR review to come, or read it early HERE.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Smith

    This book will break your heart. It is a heavy read and it is an important one.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Thelma

    This was a book that was very hard to read but at the same time very enlightening to learn and know what happen in Haiti, I live in a city where a lot of Haitians have come to seek refugee, and I can attest to how wonderful people they're, very dedicated, very hard working and always with a smile on their face that will make your day even brighter. What storm, what thunder show us how hard Hati had it after the earthquake, how devastating it was for the whole country, to learn each story just mad This was a book that was very hard to read but at the same time very enlightening to learn and know what happen in Haiti, I live in a city where a lot of Haitians have come to seek refugee, and I can attest to how wonderful people they're, very dedicated, very hard working and always with a smile on their face that will make your day even brighter. What storm, what thunder show us how hard Hati had it after the earthquake, how devastating it was for the whole country, to learn each story just made me cry and felt for them, for many of the refugees that feel lost and need someplace to call home, when your own home and life has been ripped apart in just a few hours. the struggle to find that center again. what I love about the way this book was written is that even we get to learn many of the stories at some point they get to interconnect and make this wonderful book even more deep and enjoyable. this doesn't mean that it will get any lighter but that will give the story even more deepness and more shape to what was happening with each situation and character. Definitely, it was not easy to read but very worth it, I feel like I can connect or understand better what was happening especially with each character. The narrations were good but I really didn't connect much with the narration, Ella Turenne did a great job but somehow I felt a little disconnected. I felt more anger than sadness while listening to the book. other than that, this was a good book, not an easy one but very enlightening something that will open your eyes to many of the situations we're living in at the present moment.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alix

    What Storm, What Thunder focuses on nine characters and how their lives are upended following a devastating earthquake in Haiti. What follows is a heartbreaking story illustrating the toll the earthquake has taken on these characters. I generally don’t like multiple POV’s which is why I didn’t rate this higher. That being said, all of the characters are connected and sometimes to find out what happened to one character, it’s vital to read another character’s POV. As with any story with multiple What Storm, What Thunder focuses on nine characters and how their lives are upended following a devastating earthquake in Haiti. What follows is a heartbreaking story illustrating the toll the earthquake has taken on these characters. I generally don’t like multiple POV’s which is why I didn’t rate this higher. That being said, all of the characters are connected and sometimes to find out what happened to one character, it’s vital to read another character’s POV. As with any story with multiple POV’s, there were some characters I connected to more so than others. Since this book deals with the aftermath of a catastrophic earthquake, you can expect a lot of death and sorrow. Reading this in light of current events in Haiti and the US made this a difficult but important read. This might not be a book you want to read in one sitting because it is quite depressing and heavy. But, it’s beautifully written and an important story that demands to be read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Cayley Causey

    Growing up, my mom always told me that the "classics" of literature are still read and loved decades or centuries after they were written because they hit on themes that are common to all humanity. It's why we still read Jane Austin, Charles Dickens, and Joseph Conrad, even though their stories and settings are so different from our modern world. I am a prolific reader - I've read books that I enjoyed, that impressed me, that even stunned me. But halfway through this book, I thought for the firs Growing up, my mom always told me that the "classics" of literature are still read and loved decades or centuries after they were written because they hit on themes that are common to all humanity. It's why we still read Jane Austin, Charles Dickens, and Joseph Conrad, even though their stories and settings are so different from our modern world. I am a prolific reader - I've read books that I enjoyed, that impressed me, that even stunned me. But halfway through this book, I thought for the first time - "this book should be a classic." I could call this book a masterpiece, but that would be an understatement. The subject matter of the 2010 earthquake - the before, during, and after - is a heavy enough topic to explore on his own, but Myriam J. A. Chancy does not stop there. She pushes forward to explore loss, grief, colonialism, religion, children, sex, money, greed, family, trauma, and more subjects with unparalleled beauty. Using the voices and perspectives of different characters, she crafts a multifaceted story as she weaves the pieces together masterfully. This is a book about the earthquake - and so much more. This is a book with themes that will endure to all readers. I know this review may seem hard to believe, but I have truly never written a review like this before. I will be recommending this book to everyone.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    Less story and more of a fictionalized "first hand account" of people in Haiti. Each chapter is very long and I had a hard time remembering the characters and how they were all entwined. It took me a lot longer to read and I often didn't really know what was happening because of the way the chapters only somewhat connected. Almost had a short story feel to it because each chapter was about 40 pages. Less story and more of a fictionalized "first hand account" of people in Haiti. Each chapter is very long and I had a hard time remembering the characters and how they were all entwined. It took me a lot longer to read and I often didn't really know what was happening because of the way the chapters only somewhat connected. Almost had a short story feel to it because each chapter was about 40 pages.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sujoya

    "At least 250,000 people died and only their closest relatives and friends remembered who they might have been; they could not be recovered, not even their names.” Myriam J. A. Chancy's What Storm, What Thunder is a heartbreaking yet powerful work of fiction that revolves around the 7.0 magnitude 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti and left 250,000-300000 dead and many injured and homeless. The story is told through ten voices - ten individuals from different walks of life who lives are impacted "At least 250,000 people died and only their closest relatives and friends remembered who they might have been; they could not be recovered, not even their names.” Myriam J. A. Chancy's What Storm, What Thunder is a heartbreaking yet powerful work of fiction that revolves around the 7.0 magnitude 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti and left 250,000-300000 dead and many injured and homeless. The story is told through ten voices - ten individuals from different walks of life who lives are impacted by the ‘Douz/Douze’ as the locals refer to the earthquake. Eight of these people were in Port-au-Prince when the natural disaster occurred and two have family there but were not living there when the event occurred. The author gives us a glimpse of life before, during and after the quake. “Douz: when something terrible happens to you, it feels like a dream at first. Not until the pain and the panic settle does it seem real.” Different settings are used to tell the story - the marketplace in Port-au-Prince , a swanky hotel frequented by the affluent and those they do business with, the IDP camp where those displaced face other hardships and atrocities within the ‘tented city’ and the outskirts where displaced people are being relocated for employment . We also get a glimpse into the heartache and despair felt by those who did not witness the death and destruction firsthand but whose roots and family remain in Haiti .“There is no before, no way to think before. There is only the not knowing of how to put the before together with the now. Before is a distant memory. I am still waiting to hear from those I loved, before. Waiting to hear if I can say I love, still, or if everything will remain past tense, what it was: no beyond, no goodbyes: simply after.” Haiti’s earthquake and its devastating effects on human life is not any easy story to tell, even in fiction. But the author has exercised considerable care and restraint while crafting the stories that make this novel, remaining as true to fact that fiction allows without unnecessary embellishment. While incidents of death, trauma and sexual assault are hard to read it is commendable that the author has not gone overboard in graphic detail . It is difficult to not be affected when you read What Storm, What Thunder. I had to take my time reading it and took breaks from the book in-between . A beautifully penned novel, Myriam J. A. Chancy's What Storm, What Thunder leaves you with a heavy heart.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Fraser Simons

    This ticks a bunch of my boxes: non-linear, multi-POV, central theme. Focusing on the famous Haitian earthquake, the narrative occupies multiple characters at various points before and after the event. Some of them attempt to define what “home” means to them, in the context of being Haitian. Others identity is altered from the event, though they’re on the peripheral. A local who comes to help rebuild creates a meta context for relief efforts and fonds. All in all, it’s a much more comprehensive This ticks a bunch of my boxes: non-linear, multi-POV, central theme. Focusing on the famous Haitian earthquake, the narrative occupies multiple characters at various points before and after the event. Some of them attempt to define what “home” means to them, in the context of being Haitian. Others identity is altered from the event, though they’re on the peripheral. A local who comes to help rebuild creates a meta context for relief efforts and fonds. All in all, it’s a much more comprehensive result than a single POV, and it ranges in privilege, ethnicity, gender, etc. If you’re going to examine an event like this, this is a great way to do it. It’s compartmentalized. Not sensationalized. Respectful. Seems well researched. It’s a much better structure than, say, having a structure that is only the event unfolding and jumping from character to character to have a sort of disaster movie-esk creation. It also means that they’re all pretty much short stories, and so vary, as these are want to do. Some I found really interesting and others felt a bit lack lustre. The theme still hits, but it’s in contrast to the stories that really stand out. This is forever my issue with short stories. The nice thing about this one though, is I think it somewhat knows this and so has the through line of the event and overarching themes. I did listen to it on audio and I found the narrator to be far better than is typical. Some people complained that it’s the same narrator for everyone, so it could be confusing when it changes characters. They’re siloed to each chapter but I suppose it depends how much bandwidth you give your audiobooks. If you pay attention there is no problem. If you’re doing other things, though, I could see how that could happen. Heads up! The prose felt very natural to the narrator and also above average. Great sense of time and place. Evocative. Active. Good at choosing what is interesting and unique about the locale to communicate to the reader and dispensing with the rest. Worth your time. Even for people who don’t like the short-story-as-novel structure. There’s enough grounding everything together, and no story felt too overlong, even if I wasn’t as into it as another, that it feels like it would appeal to a wide range of readers, imo.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tessa

    Poignant and heart and gut wrenching, Myriam J.A. Chancy's novel is a timely read with the events unfolding in Haiti. Each of the book's chapters has a different narrator, and through the chapters we learn their pre-story, where they were at the time of the earthquake and what happened to them after. My heart hurts for Haiti and this book personalized disaster survivors and victims. What kept me from giving it a 5 was I wish I had read the book instead of listening to the audiobook. Since there Poignant and heart and gut wrenching, Myriam J.A. Chancy's novel is a timely read with the events unfolding in Haiti. Each of the book's chapters has a different narrator, and through the chapters we learn their pre-story, where they were at the time of the earthquake and what happened to them after. My heart hurts for Haiti and this book personalized disaster survivors and victims. What kept me from giving it a 5 was I wish I had read the book instead of listening to the audiobook. Since there were so many narrators, it was very difficult to keep track of who's who without being able to flip back and forth. Each of the characters is connected to another, which I love in books, but in audiobook form it was difficult at time to follow. I also didn't connect well with the audiobook narrator. I think having a different narrator per chapter would be powerful. I would love to pick up a physical copy and re-read it in the future. I'd like to be able to pause and ponder the enormity of what happened and the elegance and descriptive prose. What Storm, What Thunder is an important read. My thanks to OrangeSky Audio and NetGalley for the complimentary audiobook ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    pawsandpagesbyannie

    Thank you to @netgalley @orangeskyaudio @spiegelandgrau the ALC in return for my honest review. My thoughts… Devastating. This book was based on the 2010 Haiti earthquake. There were a few characters here but well-developed, taking us through their experiences. The narration was a bit confusing with just one narrator, but the book was poignant and it humanized the earthquake and the devastation it brought to a country already in turmoil. These characters intertwined that showed unbelievable stren Thank you to @netgalley @orangeskyaudio @spiegelandgrau the ALC in return for my honest review. My thoughts… Devastating. This book was based on the 2010 Haiti earthquake. There were a few characters here but well-developed, taking us through their experiences. The narration was a bit confusing with just one narrator, but the book was poignant and it humanized the earthquake and the devastation it brought to a country already in turmoil. These characters intertwined that showed unbelievable strength of spirit and resilience of humans.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Meagan Waller

    Thank you to NetGalley and OrangeSky audio for providing an advanced audiobook copy in exchange for an honest review. What Storm, What Thunder is a novel that is inspired by the devastating earthquake that shook Haiti in 2010. All of the characters are fictional, but the research that Myriam J. A. Chancy put into this work is clear by how real they all feel. Haiti before, during, and after the earthquake is recounted through interconnected stories told by a wide cast of characters; from a wealthy Thank you to NetGalley and OrangeSky audio for providing an advanced audiobook copy in exchange for an honest review. What Storm, What Thunder is a novel that is inspired by the devastating earthquake that shook Haiti in 2010. All of the characters are fictional, but the research that Myriam J. A. Chancy put into this work is clear by how real they all feel. Haiti before, during, and after the earthquake is recounted through interconnected stories told by a wide cast of characters; from a wealthy ex-pat water-bottling executive, to a small-time drug trafficker, to an emigrant musician driving a taxi in Boston, all of the characters are remembered by Ma Lou, an old woman who sells produce in the market in Haiti. While heart-wrenching, the writing is a joy to read: lyrical and striking. Each character’s backstory and connection is slowly revealed as the chapters unfold, but the reader never feels like a voyeur to the trauma. Instead, the connection to them is deep, engaging, and cathartic. The themes of family—the ones by blood and by choice, redemption, sacrifice, and fear make this a novel about so much more than an earthquake. It’s a testament to the resiliency of the human spirit. This novel is great for readers who love sweeping stories told over multiple points of view, beautiful prose, or want to read about a tragic event that should loom larger in all of our collective memories. 
 What Storm, What Thunder will stick with its readers long after they finish it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kip Kyburz

    First, Chancy is such a magnificent writer. Second, I believe the earthquake that hit Haiti leads to the psychic numbing that many of us feel when an atrocity is too great. There is no way to process 300,000 deaths, that is too many to make any sort of rational sense. But that is the estimated number of people lost in Haiti in 2010. Chancy begins to draw back the curtain on this tragedy by painting these souls lost back to life. A panorama of characters narrate their stories on the days leading First, Chancy is such a magnificent writer. Second, I believe the earthquake that hit Haiti leads to the psychic numbing that many of us feel when an atrocity is too great. There is no way to process 300,000 deaths, that is too many to make any sort of rational sense. But that is the estimated number of people lost in Haiti in 2010. Chancy begins to draw back the curtain on this tragedy by painting these souls lost back to life. A panorama of characters narrate their stories on the days leading up to, during, and following that day. These characters show the interconnectedness of a tight knit community that fight for each other and themselves. This is an astounding book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    Oh what devastation. Have mercy. Oh what horror. Have mercy. How does a body, a mind survive the destruction and aftermath? Within the pages of What Storm, What Thunder are the stories of those who survived the massive earthquake in Haiti in January, 2010 and those who did not. So much suffering, so much despair, too much, too much. Poor Jonas who only has enough money to buy one egg today for his mother, Sara, but she is to be denied even that. She has lost her children - what defined her. Oliv Oh what devastation. Have mercy. Oh what horror. Have mercy. How does a body, a mind survive the destruction and aftermath? Within the pages of What Storm, What Thunder are the stories of those who survived the massive earthquake in Haiti in January, 2010 and those who did not. So much suffering, so much despair, too much, too much. Poor Jonas who only has enough money to buy one egg today for his mother, Sara, but she is to be denied even that. She has lost her children - what defined her. Olivier, Sara’s husband, has his reasons and his part of the story -his ultimate failure is to not to himself. Sara is to be denied everything. Ma Lou tells much of the story and while her losses seem insurmountable her spirit is a guiding light for many. She remembers a son, Richard, who has surpassed his surroundings and family and left them behind - he fails - in the end he is rejoined to his beginning. Dieudonne’ smelled the disaster in the air before it came to pass. Sonia, beauty and grace, desired by many has always turned to him depending on his knowledge and certainty. Together they see the God of Death and are unable to prepare and later wonder why they were spared. Interconnected - Sonia’s sister Taffia, brother Paul and Aunt; Richard’s daughter Ann; Dieudonne’s distant cousin Leopold; Didier, living in Massachusetts driving a cab trying to play his music, not being able to contact his brother and sisters in Haiti not knowing if they survived - all their stories are told in detail. Their backstories, their relationships, their accomplishments and failures all laid out as are their deaths and survival. All told in exquisite prose describing the frailty of life, remembering that one catastrophic event, the struggle for survival and believing that the only way forward is to embrace the gods that had not harmed you. Powerful, masterfully written, reminding the reader that everyone matters, then, now, always. Thank you NetGalley and Tin House for a copy.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Smaika Chery

    Best read of 2021 !!!!!! After Les Villages de Dieu by Emmelie Prophète, this is the second book that I read for the year which deals with subjects that I know too well: the earthquake of January 12, 2010 which literally brought Haiti to the ground , not even on her knees, lying face down in the white dust. It's a fictional story but that didn't stop me from identifying myself with the characters. In this book, we follow the stories of 10 people, all related in one way or another. Everyone exper Best read of 2021 !!!!!! After Les Villages de Dieu by Emmelie Prophète, this is the second book that I read for the year which deals with subjects that I know too well: the earthquake of January 12, 2010 which literally brought Haiti to the ground , not even on her knees, lying face down in the white dust. It's a fictional story but that didn't stop me from identifying myself with the characters. In this book, we follow the stories of 10 people, all related in one way or another. Everyone experienced those seconds of terror in a different way. I like the way Madame Chancy describes the life of each character. We have the impression that we were there, that it was our life. Each of them. It made me think back to my post-Douz experience where, even though my house had not collapsed, I slept with my family in a tent that barely struggled to accommodate us together. The book is in English but I assure you that it is easy to read. All of this to tell you that I recommend this book with all my heart. Until recently, I did not know this talented author and that is why I would like to thank the Tin House publishing house for this such a beautiful gift, I loved, I very much appreciated. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Zibby Owens

    This novel is by the literature professor, author, and Guggenheim Fellow Myriam J.A. Chancy. It is the incredibly intricate and tragic tale of people trapped in the 2010 Haitian earthquake. Though the book is fiction, it is based on the author’s real-life conversations with survivors. Richly layered with characters from the whole strata of Haitian society, the novel tracks their lives from before, during, and after the quake. The effect is a deep, somber, and moving story. Something that impress This novel is by the literature professor, author, and Guggenheim Fellow Myriam J.A. Chancy. It is the incredibly intricate and tragic tale of people trapped in the 2010 Haitian earthquake. Though the book is fiction, it is based on the author’s real-life conversations with survivors. Richly layered with characters from the whole strata of Haitian society, the novel tracks their lives from before, during, and after the quake. The effect is a deep, somber, and moving story. Something that impressed me was Chancy’s devotion to her subject; it took over seven years to create a novel that reads like narrative nonfiction. The book struck me on a gut level, relating an event not unlike 9/11 in that it affected a nation of people in one shocking moment. All the worse, the death toll was between 250,000 and 300,000 people—an almost incomprehensible number. The book is an utterly unforgettable masterpiece about the humanity of survivors caught in one of the century’s worst disasters. To listen to my interview with the author, go to my podcast at: https://zibbyowens.com/transcript/myr...

  23. 4 out of 5

    Christine Chatelain Latimer

    What Storm, What Thunder focuses on nine characters and their lives following a devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010. This was definitely not an easy read. I was so submerged and invested in this story, I found myself in the center of each and every characters’ s pain and struggle. Sara really had my heart in a vice grip, I just don’t know what I would’ve done with myself, if I was in her shoes. I kept finding a little piece of me in Sonia for some reason and Ma Lou is definitely my favorite What Storm, What Thunder focuses on nine characters and their lives following a devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010. This was definitely not an easy read. I was so submerged and invested in this story, I found myself in the center of each and every characters’ s pain and struggle. Sara really had my heart in a vice grip, I just don’t know what I would’ve done with myself, if I was in her shoes. I kept finding a little piece of me in Sonia for some reason and Ma Lou is definitely my favorite character, she reminds me so much of my grandmother. I recommend anyone to pick up the physical and the e-book. I honestly didn’t care to much for the audiobook because I just couldn’t get past when the narrator try to speak Creole it kind of threw me off. Overall Myriam JA Chancy crafted this novel so beautifully heavy and masterfully highlighted the Haitian culture. What Storm, What Thunder is Haiti.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sarah-Hope

    Myriam J. A. Chancy's What Storm, What Thunder is a novel of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. The fact that Haiti is just now recovering from another, equally disastrous earthquake makes this already-poignant title even more compelling. Each chapter of the book is narrated by a different character: a market woman; a prostitute in a high-end hotel; an international business man; a young woman in a working-class family; a Haitian woman working for an NGO in Rwanda, who returns in response to the disas Myriam J. A. Chancy's What Storm, What Thunder is a novel of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. The fact that Haiti is just now recovering from another, equally disastrous earthquake makes this already-poignant title even more compelling. Each chapter of the book is narrated by a different character: a market woman; a prostitute in a high-end hotel; an international business man; a young woman in a working-class family; a Haitian woman working for an NGO in Rwanda, who returns in response to the disaster; an emigree living in the U.S.; a boy who runs errands of all sorts before and after school to earn a bit of money. At first this mix of characters confuses. They're all connected in one way or another, but those connections aren't immediately clear. The counter-balance to that is the way the book becomes more and more compelling as the reader comes to see the nature of the community made up of these varied narrators. Chancy spends ample time in the voice of each narrator, letting readers become immersed in their inner and outer lives. The action is slow, but given how challenging day-to-day life is for most of these individuals, even before the earthquake, that slowness is part of an ongoing struggle that erits documentation. I strongly recommend What Storm, What Thunder given its timeliness and range of viewpoints. I received a free electronic review copy of this title from the publisher; the opinions are my own.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Yanique Gillana

    5 Stars I am grateful to OrangeSky Audio for sending me an advanced copy of this audiobook for review. I truly enjoyed this book and found it to be a refreshing West Indian story. The setting was wonderful and fully developed, and this enhanced the story being told. I loved that it wasn't just based on landmarks and food, but built atmosphere with relationships, language, and true emotion. I also loved that Chancy gave us characters from a cross section of Haitian society to paint a full picture 5 Stars I am grateful to OrangeSky Audio for sending me an advanced copy of this audiobook for review. I truly enjoyed this book and found it to be a refreshing West Indian story. The setting was wonderful and fully developed, and this enhanced the story being told. I loved that it wasn't just based on landmarks and food, but built atmosphere with relationships, language, and true emotion. I also loved that Chancy gave us characters from a cross section of Haitian society to paint a full picture. I am tired of Caribbean stories that only focus on trauma. This one managed to tackle traumatic topics but maintain the humanity of the characters. There was a perfect balance of exploring hardships while, still maintaining the authentic feel of the culture. This story featured some very complex relationship dynamics, from familial relationships to how these characters feel about society as a whole. It was all written in a way that was engaging and authentic, and centered around one pivotal incident (an Earthquake) that touched the lives of all the characters. This story jumps around through time seamlessly. I think the author handled telling background stories as well as parallel plot lines very well, and the story was compelling from beginning to end. This storytelling approach was perfect for this story, because it allowed us to delve into the minds of the characters and really dissect some serious social topics. One of those topics that stood out to me was the great commentary on the complex relationship Haitian people (and many Caribbean people) have with their country/identity and with other countries like the US. This was explored through multiple perspectives of character in different locations and from different backgrounds. I recommend this story to anyone who enjoys cultural stories, especially people who have an interest in the Caribbean or Haiti specifically.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Christine Merrill

    One of the things I love most about books are its abilities to transport you to a place and create empathy. I don't know how much time I spent thinking about the Haiti earthquake when it happened beyond "how sad" and maybe giving some money to Red Cross. This book completely uprooted my feelings about the Haiti earthquake, and put faces and names and histories to those lost. It also falls into the category of book that I love where it's all different characters and perspectives but somehow they' One of the things I love most about books are its abilities to transport you to a place and create empathy. I don't know how much time I spent thinking about the Haiti earthquake when it happened beyond "how sad" and maybe giving some money to Red Cross. This book completely uprooted my feelings about the Haiti earthquake, and put faces and names and histories to those lost. It also falls into the category of book that I love where it's all different characters and perspectives but somehow they're all connected and you can build the throughline throughout the book. Anyway! Loved this one far more than I thought I would have, definitely recommend.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mario’s Library

    This one is really good. So many details and so many good voices in this book! Beautifully written and inspiring! Character driven story! Emotional! I’m impressed how author wrote characters in the book and she pulled me in this book to feel the text and to feel feelings from them while reading! I’m struggling with writing this review, just because it’s hard to give comments. I don’t have enough vocabulary to express myself! Don’t skip this book, you should read this yesterday! Thank you @harper This one is really good. So many details and so many good voices in this book! Beautifully written and inspiring! Character driven story! Emotional! I’m impressed how author wrote characters in the book and she pulled me in this book to feel the text and to feel feelings from them while reading! I’m struggling with writing this review, just because it’s hard to give comments. I don’t have enough vocabulary to express myself! Don’t skip this book, you should read this yesterday! Thank you @harpercollinsca for this eARC!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Harris

    I was really impressed with this book. I was skeptical after the first two chapters that it was going to read more like a combination of short stories. Ultimately, it all came together nicely showing the interconnectedness of the characters and how their lives were impacted by the same event. I liked that the author didn't hold back with her depictions which added to the authenticity of the experience. I was really impressed with this book. I was skeptical after the first two chapters that it was going to read more like a combination of short stories. Ultimately, it all came together nicely showing the interconnectedness of the characters and how their lives were impacted by the same event. I liked that the author didn't hold back with her depictions which added to the authenticity of the experience.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Cajsa

    You don’t know what collective you belong to until your own house is on fire. In "What Storm, What Thunder", we follow a group of different, interconnected characters before, during and after the shattering earthquake in Port-au-Prince in 2010. Listening to the audiobook, I felt transported to Haiti, especially the IDP camps where we spend a considerable amount of time with the characters. In my opinion, the author skillfully balanced depicting the individual struggles with exploring broader them You don’t know what collective you belong to until your own house is on fire. In "What Storm, What Thunder", we follow a group of different, interconnected characters before, during and after the shattering earthquake in Port-au-Prince in 2010. Listening to the audiobook, I felt transported to Haiti, especially the IDP camps where we spend a considerable amount of time with the characters. In my opinion, the author skillfully balanced depicting the individual struggles with exploring broader themes of colonialism, rape culture, racism, and class. Discussions of international aid were woven organically into the story, giving the novel a depth that truly sets it apart. Aside from the well-crafted story, I kept interrupting the audiobook to note quotes. Beautiful sentences, masterfully delivered by the narrator, drew me into the heartbreaking story of a nation at the mercy of both nature and those who rule it from within and without its borders. As I mourn these characters and their livelihoods lost during the tragedies, I can only encourage you to pick this title and delve into Port au Prince and what's left of it for yourself. Thank you so much to OrangeSky Audio for providing me with the audiocopy!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lorilin

    The writing in this book is so beautiful. I felt immediately connected to each character. Just prepare yourself for a heartbreaking story. Like loss after loss after loss. And there is no ultimate saving moment at the end. There are some characters that let us keep a bit of hope—but only a bit. I do feel more interested in learning about Haiti now though. I realize there is so much I don’t know, and I need to change that.

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