What Storm, What Thunder

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A NPR Book of the Day, People and Bustle Book of the Week, and a Best Book of Fall at TIMEWashington Post, BuzzFeed, Vulture, Chicago Tribune, and Good Housekeeping

“Stunning.” —Margaret Atwood

“Sublime. A striking and formidable novel by one of our most brilliant writers and storytellers.” —Edwidge Danticat, author of Everything Inside

The earth had buckled and, in that movement, all that was not in its place fell upon the earth’s children, upon the blameless as well as the guilty, without discrimination.

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.

Author Events

7:00 pm EST
In conversation with José Oliveraz

Odyssey Bookshop

7:00 pm CDT
In conversation with Mike Gauyo

Boswell Book Company
Co-hosted by Youthaiti

10:00 am PST
In Person
Portland Book Festival
In Conversation with Omar El Akkad, moderated by Andrew Proctor, executive director PLA

Portland Book Festival
Fields Ballroom
Portland Art Museum
1219 Southwest Park Avenue
Portland, OR 97205

6:00 pm EST
In Person
Miami Book Fair
In conversation with Dr. Guerda Nicolas, professor, University of Miami, School of Education and Human Development

MDC Wolfson Campus
300 NE Second Ave, Room 8503
Miami, FL 33132


  • “A heartbreaking tale of regret and resilience, and a fiery rebuke of racism, violence and greed.”


  • “A stunning commentary on racism, sexual violence, capitalism and the resilience required to rebuild a life.”

    The Washington Post

  • “A gorgeous, intimate voice. . . . A reminder of the extraordinary resilience, then as now, of the Haitian people.”

    People Magazine

  • “Not since W. G. Sebald has somebody succeeded in evoking such a rich sense of the history of disaster. . . . She has unimpeachable credibility—and a clear purpose: People do persist, not merely suffer.”

    —NPR Books

  • “Written by a Haitian Canadian American author, this novel paints Haiti’s 2010 earthquake and its aftermath through 10 points of view, from a wealthy water executive to an architect returning from Rwanda to deal with the earthquake’s aftermath.”

    The New York Times Book Review

  • “Incredibly powerful.”


  • “Many of us are hungry for stories of survival and resilience in this precarious world where the for-grantedness of life is fractured. This book delivers.”

    The San Francisco Chronicle

  • “This is fiction as an act of bearing witness. . . . Chancy’s lush prose engages shifting and intersecting points of view that reflect the contours of an island nation borne of anti-colonial rebellion.”


  • “Chancy promises to illuminate the lives of people who in America are often fleeting visions on 24-hour news channels, noticed only when disaster happens.”

    The Chicago Tribune

  • “Compelling. . . . Chancy offers her readers the rare opportunity to view the earthquake’s aftermath from multiple angles, with every shadow of doubt, every glimmer of hope, illuminating the ever-expanding history of the catastrophe and its devastation.”

    —BOMB Magazine

  • “Extraordinary. . . . lyrical. . . . dazzling. . . . Each of the voices entrances, thanks to Chancy’s beautiful prose and rich themes. This is not to be missed.”

    Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

  • “Unforgettable. . . . a devastating, personal and vital account.”

    Kirkus, Starred Review

  • Remarkable. . . . Every element of the writing and characterization delivers a poignant experience.


  • “A soaring, heartbreaking symphony.”

    Library Journal, Starred Review

  • “Devastating. . . . Extraordinary.”


  • “Heartbreaking and haunting, this exploration of life in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, after it’s hit by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake is sure to stay with you.”

    —Ms. Magazine

  • “A really beautiful, incredibly powerful portrait of a community.”


  • “Weaves together stories that will both break your heart and highlight the resilience of survivors.”

    —The Mary Sue

  • “The voices are weaved together effortlessly, each more mesmerizing than the last.”

    —Louisa Ermellino, Publishers Weekly

  • “Poignant.”

    Poets & Writers

  • “Sublime. A striking and formidable novel by one of our most brilliant writers and storytellers.”

    —Edwidge Danticat, author of Everything Inside

  • What Storm, What Thunder is a beautiful, haunting chorus of voices. A striking achievement.”

    —Zinzi Clemmons, author of What We Lose

  • “If you love the works of Jesmyn Ward, Edwidge Danticat and J.M Coetzee, this is the book for you! Absolutely breathtaking!”

    —Angie Cruz, author of Dominicana

  • “Myriam Chancy is a masterful writer.”

    —José Olivarez, author of Citizen Illegal

  • “An affecting and immersive–an important–book.”

    —Dan Vyleta, author of Soot

  • “Virtuosic.”

    The Globe and Mail

  • “A must-read. . . . a singular story of strength, sorrow, heartbreak, and love.”

    —Apartment Therapy

  • “Deeply haunting.”


  • “Masterful.”

    —Black Book Stacks