Style and Technique
Danticat is not merely a realist, but an impressionistic realist, perhaps best described as a poetic realist; her realism is clothed in the poetry of her picturesque language. She handles the English language not only with an assurance befitting a born teller of tales but also with a justness rare with foreign-born writers operating in a tongue they did not know from birth. One is reminded of Joseph Conrad or Vladimir Nabokov (and even Conrad is guilty of occasional clumsiness). The list is small, Danticat their worthy successor. Consider such felicitous turns of phrase as her description of one of the clients in “Night Women,” who has a “breadfruit head,” leaving the narrator “with his body soaking from the dew of our flesh.”
Although she must often be tempted, she never lets her style interfere with the narrative. However rich and satisfying, it never overwhelms with pyrotechnics. A mark of authorial maturity is often said to be to know when to add and when to stop. The stories in Krik? Krak! vary in length from slightly under six to sixty pages. With a mere fifteen hundred words, “Night Women” is a complete, satisfying study of a prostitute’s existence. The reader can picture not only the misery of prostitution but also what it means to a real woman, with a very special son, living in a carefully described milieu, servicing at least three carefully delineated customers (though just with short thumbnail sketches). She paints...
(The entire section is 434 words.)