Mouths Don’t Speak

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In the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake that nearly destroyed Haiti, Jacqueline Florestant feels her own world shaken and crumbling. Having lived in the US for 25 years, she feels more American than Haitian, but the culture she was born into rings in her blood and, over the course of the novel, she finds her way back to roots while navigating personal tragedy.

What Mouths Don’t Speak by Katia D. Ulysse does so effortlessly is represent what it means to feel lost long after our teen years. As Jacqueline fears for the loss of her parents, she discovers an innate sense of cultural loss as well, an ache for the country she once called home. This leads her to befriend Leyla, a lively, kind woman who teaches Creole to those willing to learn. The friendship the two women develop is the anchor to which Jacqueline is tethered for much of the book.

It is Jacqueline’s relationship with her husband, Kevin, a former Marine privately suffering from PTSD, that feels a bit off. There are moments when the two seem to not care about one another at all, preferring time alone or time with their young daughter over time with one another. When they are forced to confront personal tragedy, it is a bit tough to swallow the way the two react to the event and to one another.

Ultimately, though, Mouths Don’t Speak is a beautiful reminder that the obstacles we face are not who we are; rather, they make us who we are.


Reviewed By:

Author Katia D. Ulysse
Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 224 pages
Publisher Akashic Books
Publish Date 2018-Jan-02
ISBN 9781617755927
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue May 2018
Category Modern Literature
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