We are all looking for solutions on how to coinhabit this vast world together, some of us in loving, compassionate ways, others in the most unforgiving of pursuits to yield no resource, to share no gain. How are we to understand and address these conflicting impulses? Much of my work aims to do just this and to, along the way, offer some plausible solutions. What’s struck me, most, though, in recent years, as I’ve given talks, published my work, and entertained responses, is how little we know of each other, and how little attention we pay to history. Much of our problems could be solved simply by, first, accessing archives, textual and living, and second, absorbing their lessons so as not to repeat the past.
It’s a simple adage but we can’t know where we’re going if we can’t acknowledge where we, and others, have been.
These last months, I have been telling graduate students fretting over the market and junior faculty members fretting over tenure - ‘do what you love, because you’ll be doing it for the rest of your life!”
I’m happy to be able to say that I find joy in writing and speaking my truth, advocating for the least among us. I tell them, as Martha Graham to a young Agnes De Mille, ‘there’s only one of you in the world’ – so what do you want to say? Live out loud, as they say. Write passionately, and without apology.
Along the way, my work for/with Haiti continues, as does my journey through this, our tormented, beautiful world. Thank you for joining me on the path.
Blessings & Love,
Myriam J. A. Chancy
Updated November 2012
“Where love is, there is transformation. Without love, revolution has no meaning, for then revolution is merely destruction, decay, a greater and greater ever-mounting misery. Where there is love, there is revolution, because love is transformation from moment to moment.” – Krishnamurti, The First & Last Freedoms
Read Chapter Excerpts from The Scorpion’s Claw (2005) Here.
REVIEWS OF THE LONELINESS OF ANGELS (2010)
“A major new work in Caribbean fiction.” – Guyana Prize in Literature Caribbean Award Jury
“The Loneliness of Angels is ambitious…an important document of contemporary Haiti as affected by its recent history and its connections with the outside world.”
– Al Creighton’s “Arts on Sunday,” Sunday Stabroek, Guyana (September 25, 2011)
“The Loneliness of Angels reframes migration…as movement that both marks the people and history of the Caribbean and links to something beyond, what [Chancy] has recently called ‘the ability to conceive of a world greater than ourselves and greater than the islands of our origins.’ ….With [this novel] Chancy has exploited and expanded the novel’s form to leave her readers with memorable characters and compelling stories…”
– Sarah Barbour, “The Movement of Migration,” The Caribbean Writer Vol. 25 (Summer 2011)
“Anthems, songs to angels, a character’s obsession with Chopin — music provides spaces of reprieve within the painful memories captured by this novel….[Ruth]‘s a fascinating figure [revealed] in a gripping first sentence — ‘Ruth smoothes the plastic covering her memory table as if she is trying to undo wrinkles in time’….The character Rose is even more compelling…The chapter devoted to her is worth the price of the book.”
– Winnipeg Free Press, 4/7/10
REVIEWS OF SPIRIT OF HAITI
“This accomplished and haunting debut…is a surreal tour de force set in Haiti during the 1990s….The prose is energetic and filled with poignancy so deeply felt, it resonates long after the story has been told….lyrical and breathtaking….Chancy is a writer who cares about words and pace and tells her story in deft strokes….This sensitive portrait of a people whose spirit might be quashed but not diminished is a compelling read.”
– Irene D’Souza, “Surreal tour de force set in Haiti,” Winnipeg Free Press, March 2005
“Chancy’s [prose] brims with literary devices and rich images that transpose the harsh realities of Duvalier’s terror-based regime against the personal dreams of her individual characters….in Chancy’s world, true meaning resides in the intangible rather than in material reality.”
– WorldPulse, Winter 2004
REVIEWS OF THE SCORPION CLAW
“somber and ethereal”
- Colin Rickards, forthcoming review, SheCaribbean
“…readers can tell from the onset that the former professor has shed her scholarly cloak for a writer’s mantle….[The] Scorpion’s Claw is reminiscent of Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things, in the emotions she evokes.”
- Malcollvie Jean-François, “Chancy Frees Voices in ‘Scorpion’s Claw’,” Haitian Times, Sept. 2005
“Chancy may well become a grand dame of Haitian literature…luminous and realistic…[s]he captures her readers and never loses their attention….in evocative and illuminating prose….the story she tells of the plight of a Haitian family, serves as an important and worthy subtext for all the political and genocidal atrocities that haunt our television broadcasts on any given day.”
-Irene D’Souza, “Author releases Haitian people, landscapes,” Winnipeg Free Press, June 19th, 2005
“…groundbreaking…and she’s already at work on her third novel”
- Buzzworthy, Caribbean Beat, Jan/Feb 2005