"After the 2010 Haiti earthquake kills her parents, a woman returns to Haiti after leaving it as a child, 25 years ago. A powerful and engrossing story, this read cannot be missed."
—Bustle, 35 Most Anticipated Fiction Books of 2018"With lush descriptions and Creole-inflected dialogue, Katia D. Ulysse frankly and deftly writes about the nuances and class differences in Haiti. Mouths Don’t Speak explores how trauma touches us at home and abroad, wherever those places may be. This includes the experiences of the underserved kids Jacqueline teaches, American veterans, the earthquake victims, and children and their parents. Ulysse illustrates the complicated but unbreakable connections we have to family and home, and shows how privilege doesn’t necessarily keep you from tragedy."
—Shelf Awareness"A captivating portrait of a woman plagued with worry about family and homeland, this beautifully written novel recalls Toni Morrison’s Paradise."
—Library Journal"Powerful…As Ulysse explores grief, she moves beyond her protagonist to consider the murky motivations and emotions of other characters. This is a harrowing, thoughtful dive into the aftermath of national and personal tragedies filtered through diasporic life."
—Publishers Weekly"Ulysse punctuates…descriptions of the lush Florestant plantation with insightful observations about strained family dynamics. The ties that bind can also constrict us."
—Booklist"In Drifting, Ulysse’s 2014 story collection, Haitian immigrants struggle through New York City after the 2010 earthquake that destroyed much of their county. In her debut novel, Ulysse revisits that disaster with a clearer and sharper focus. Jacqueline Florestant is mourning her parents, presumed dead after the earthquake, while her ex-Marine husband cares for their young daughter. But the expected losses aren’t the most serious, and a trip to freshly-wounded Haiti exposes the way tragedy follows class lines as well as family ones."
—The Millions, Included in the Millions’ Most Anticipated Great First-Half 2018 Book Preview"A beautiful exploration of one woman’s quest to salvage a life that’s been destroyed by an unforseeable natural disaster."
—Bitch, included in BitchReads: 25 Fiction Books You Must Read in 2018"Katia D. Ulysse’s relentless prose delves into the class divide made blatant in the wake of the earthquake while probing the boundaries of the struggles of being a multinational family in a time of crisis."
—World Literature Today"A heartbreaking symphony of place, time, [and] relationships."
—Rebel Women Lit (on Medium)"A young mother returns to Haiti after the massive earthquake to deal with the presumed death of her parents, while her husband remains home with their young daughter and struggles with combat PTSD. A powerful story of loss, trauma, and survival."
—Book Riot, 8 Small Press Books to Read in JanuaryNo one was prepared for the massive earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010, taking over a quarter-million lives, and leaving millions of others homeless. Three thousand miles away, Jacqueline Florestant mourns the presumed death of her parents, while her husband, a former US Marine and combat veteran, cares for their three-year-old daughter as he fights his own battles with acute PTSD.Horrified and guilt-ridden, Jacqueline returns to Haiti in search of the proverbial "closure." Unfortunately, the Haiti she left as a child twenty-five years earlier has disappeared. Her quest turns into a tornado of deception, desperation, and more death. So Jacqueline holds tightly to her daughter—the only one who must not die.
- Fiction / African American / Women
- Fiction / Cultural Heritage
- Fiction / Family Life / General
- Fiction / Literary