INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
AN OPRAH BOOK CLUB SELECTION
LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION
An Instant Washington Post, USA Today, and Indie Bestseller
"Epic…. I was just enraptured by the lineage and the story of this modern African-American family…. A combination of historical and modern story—I’ve never read anything quite like it. It just consumed me." —Oprah Winfrey, Oprah Book Club Pick
Finalist for the Kirkus Prize for Fiction • Longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize • An Indie Next Pick • A New York Times Book Everyone Will Be Talking About • A People 5 Best Books of the Summer • A Good Morning America 15 Summer Book Club Picks • An Essence Best Book of the Summer • A Time 11 Best Books of the Month • A Washington Post 10 Books of the Month • A CNN Best Book of the Month • A Ms. Most Anticipated Book of the Year • A Goodreads Most Anticipated Book of the Year • A Book Page Writer to Watch • A USA Today Book Not to Miss • A Chicago Tribune Summer Must-Read • An Observer Best Summer Book • A Millions Most Anticipated Book • A Ms. Book of the Month • A Well-Read Black Girl Book Club Pick • A BiblioLifestyle Most Anticipated Literary Book of the Summer • A Deep South Best Book of the Summer • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
The 2020 National Book Award–nominated poet makes her fiction debut with this magisterial epic—an intimate yet sweeping novel with all the luminescence and force of Homegoing; Sing, Unburied, Sing; and The Water Dancer—that chronicles the journey of one American family, from the centuries of the colonial slave trade through the Civil War to our own tumultuous era.
The great scholar, W. E. B. Du Bois, once wrote about the Problem of race in America, and what he called “Double Consciousness,” a sensitivity that every African American possesses in order to survive. Since childhood, Ailey Pearl Garfield has understood Du Bois’s words all too well. Bearing the names of two formidable Black Americans—the revered choreographer Alvin Ailey and her great grandmother Pearl, the descendant of enslaved Georgians and tenant farmers—Ailey carries Du Bois’s Problem on her shoulders.
Ailey is reared in the north in the City but spends summers in the small Georgia town of Chicasetta, where her mother’s family has lived since their ancestors arrived from Africa in bondage. From an early age, Ailey fights a battle for belonging that’s made all the more difficult by a hovering trauma, as well as the whispers of women—her mother, Belle, her sister, Lydia, and a maternal line reaching back two centuries—that urge Ailey to succeed in their stead.
To come to terms with her own identity, Ailey embarks on a journey through her family’s past, uncovering the shocking tales of generations of ancestors—Indigenous, Black, and white—in the deep South. In doing so Ailey must learn to embrace her full heritage, a legacy of oppression and resistance, bondage and independence, cruelty and resilience that is the story—and the song—of America itself.
Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Experience the history of America—and the country’s legacy of racism—through one family’s powerful saga. For as long as she can remember, Ailey Pearl Garfield and her older sisters have left the city to spend summers with their country relatives in Georgia. As Ailey grows up, she begins to notice the dark undercurrents of those idyllic summers, eventually coming to terms with a legacy of secrets, violence, and shame that have shaped her family. In her debut novel, acclaimed poet Honorée Fanonne Jeffers weaves together past and present storylines into an epic that draws you fully into its orbit. Spanning from the beginning of the slave trade to the first Obama campaign, Jeffers’ book follows multiple generations of one family, exploring their dramas, strength, and love. Primary narrator Adenrele Ojo perfectly captures the incantatory, poetic force of Jeffers’ language as the story moves across generations. She’s ably supported by multitalented actress Karen Chilton, who relays the stories of Ailey’s ancestors with the wise affect of your favorite teacher, and Prentice Onayemi, who intones quotes from Black scholar and activist W.E.B. Du Bois with grave intensity. This unforgettable and uniquely American epic isn’t just the story of one family—it’s the story of how our country was created, and its sins and salvations ever since.
I like her book but I don’t like this for my opinion I think that if you not like book with weird stuff like taste of his mother milk that one but there more that my opinion your can be like that but I think some of her
Other book are butter
The Love songs
This is my first time reading this book it was okay to me. I love the new ones.
Great new book.