What Storm, What Thunder

What Storm, What Thunder

by Myriam J. A. Chancy
  • critically-acclaimed
  • diversity
  • literary

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, this gripping story gives witness 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.


Myriam J. A. Chancy, author

MYRIAM J. A. CHANCY was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. A Guggenheim Fellow, she currently holds the Hartley Burr Alexander Chair in the Humanities at Scripps College in California. She is the author of four books of literary criticism and four novels. Her first novel, Spirit of Haiti, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Best First Book, Canada/Caribbean) in 2004. The Loneliness of Angels won the Guyana Prize for Literature Caribbean Award (Best Fiction) and was shortlisted for the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature in 2011.


  • "What Storm, What Thunder" is a striking and formidable novel by one of our most brilliant writers and storytellers. Lending her voice to ten survivors whose lives were indelibly altered by the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Myriam J. A. Chancy’s sublime choral novel not only describes what it was like for her characters before, during, and after that heartrending day, she also powerfully guides us towards further reflection and healing. - Edwidge Danticat, author of Everything Inside
  • A stunning commentary on racism, sexual violence, capitalism and the resilience required to rebuild a life. - Washington Post
  • [What Storm, What Thunder] is a heartbreaking tale of regret and resilience, and a fiery rebuke of racism, violence and greed. - Time Magazine
  • Chancy reminds us that the headlines and statistics were but part of the story of death and destruction....In her intricate tale of how the tragedy is multiplied by systemic social failures that follow the earthquake, Chancy examines the difficult question of how people move past grief of this magnitude, personally and collectively. Every element of the writing and characterization delivers a poignant experience. - Booklist
  • Survivors and victims tell their powerful, moving stories in this fictional account of the 2010 Haitian earthquake....Their stories are not always easy to read, but they shouldn’t be. Chancy offers fleeting redemption for some characters, but she does not deal in false hopes. “We all look away unless it’s us, or someone we love, going up in flames,” one character muses. In this devastating work, Chancy refuses to let any of us look away. A devastating, personal, and vital account. - Kirkus Reviews, starred review
  • This [book] is not to be missed. - Publishers Weekly, starred review

Rights Holder

Rights Holder: HarperCollins Canada

email: lisa.rundle@harpercollins.com

website: https://www.harpercollins.ca/

rights sold: US (Tin House)

rights available: World

Additional Information

age range: Adult

number of pages: 320

publication date: 09/14/2021

Original language of pub: English

Materials Available: complete manuscript