The unmissable debut novel by the critically acclaimed author of Between the World and Me andWe Were Eight Years in Power - a richly imagined and compulsively page-turning journey to freedom
OPRAH BOOK CLUB PICK
'I haven't felt this way since I first read Beloved... I wish Toni [Morrison] was alive to actually read this book. She would be so proud' - Oprah
Hiram Walker is born into bondage on a Virginia plantation. But he is also born gifted with a mysterious power that he won't discover until he is almost a man, when he risks everything for a chance to escape. One fateful decision will carry him away from his makeshift plantation family - his adoptive mother, Thena, a woman of few words and many secrets, and his beloved, angry Sophia - and into the covert heart of the underground war on slavery.
Hidden amidst the corrupt grandeur of white plantation society, exiled as guerrilla cells in the wilderness, buried in the coffin of the deep South and agitating for utopian ideals in the North, there exists a widespread network of secret agents working to liberate the enslaved. Hiram joins their ranks and learns fast but in his heart he yearns to return to his own still-enslaved family, to topple the plantation that was his first home. But to do so, he must first master his unique power and reclaim the story of his greatest loss.
Propulsive, transcendent and blazing with truth, The Water Dancer is a story of oppression and resistance, separation and homecoming. Ta-Nehisi Coates imagines the covert war of an enslaved people in response to a generations-long human atrocity - a war for the right to life, to kin, to freedom.
'One of the best books I have ever read in my entire life. Right up there in the top five. I was enthralled, I was devastated. I felt hope, I felt gratitude, I felt joy... [Ta-Nehisi Coates] is a magnificent writer' Oprah
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
When Oprah announced The Water Dancer as her Book Club pick, she explained that “through the world of magical realism, the book allows us to experience what it felt like to be enslaved.” We couldn’t agree more: Every era has its essential truth tellers and we’re lucky to live in the time of Ta-Nehisi Coates, who has an unparalleled gift for illuminating the shame of racism in America. With his stunning first novel, Coates displays the same gift of storytelling he has brought to non-fiction. (The impactful Between the World and Me won the 2015 National Book Award in the U.S..) The Water Dancer follows Hiram Walker, an enslaved man in Virginia who is both scrutinized and celebrated for his intellect. When Hiram is captured during an escape attempt, he discovers an unexpected kind of freedom. As always, Coates is fluent in the devastating poetry of unspeakable loss, but he invests Walker’s journey with moments of wonder and possibility. This sweeping epic is a story of nearly unfathomable brutality that’s seeded with hope—and even joy.