The gifted author of the acclaimed memoir The Prisoner’s Wife delivers a deeply penetrating work—an emotionally shattering first novel that explores the perils of silence and illuminates the fragile complexity of the mother-daughter bond.
On a winter night in Brooklyn, Aya Rivers, a vibrant nineteen-year-old black girl, is shot by a white police officer in a case of mistaken identity. Her mother, Miriam, a rigid and guarded woman, rushes to the hospital. As Miriam desperately waits at Aya’s bedside, she falls back into memories of her own youth, when her life took a series of tragic turns as she struggled for independence and dealt with the end of her relationship with Aya’s father. But as Miriam’s recollections of love and regret descend upon her, this woman who has spent nearly every day of her life in an emotional prison finds that her wounds slowly give way to healing and a tentative hopefulness.
With the lyrical economy of poetry, Asha Bandele tells a powerful story that boldly confronts timely and troubling issues. Daughter is an unforgettable portrait of one extraordinary woman and her journey—from secrecy to openness, from the silence of isolation to the beauty of connection.
This version of the ebook contains an updated introduction by the author and a very special survival guide for today’s activists and advocates against police violence, including the founders and members of Black Lives Matter, and Michelle Alexander, Harry Belafonte, Susan L. Taylor, Marc Lamont Hill, journalists Esther Armah and Kirsten West Savali, and Kadiatou Diallo.
Solemn and occasionally maudlin, this first novel by the author of the acclaimed memoir The Prisoner's Wife tells a tragic, too-familiar story: a promising young African-American is mistakenly shot by the police in Brooklyn, N.Y. Nineteen-year-old Aya has been getting her life together after a brush with the law and is working hard to earn a college degree. Only the coolness of her beautiful, distant single mother, Miriam, prevents her from being truly happy. When Aya is gravely wounded, Miriam is forced to face her own past and examine her emotionally arid life. Shifting focus rather clumsily, Bandele chronicles Miriam's strict upbringing and forbidden romance with sweet Bird, an ambitious janitor. Miriam loses Bird just before Aya is born, and when Aya is taken from her, too, she resorts to violence. Though she ends up in prison, she is finally able to tentatively connect with others again, meditating on a line by Aya's favorite poet, Sonia Sanchez: "I shall become a collector of me/ And put meat on my soul." Bandele tells her story in simple language, though plaintive asides ("have you ever told me a joke, Mommy, or kissed me just because?"), and italicized laments ("Oh God, didn't I pay with Bird?") give the novel a sentimental veneer. Bandele's low-key take on a grim aspect of the urban black experience stands in refreshing contrast to more sensationalistic renditions, but Miriam's muddled final epiphany will leave readers wishing for something more. Author tour.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Daughter by Asha Bandeld..... Wow, Wow. Trying to find the words of how this book touched me is difficult. Coming from a household similar to the main character Miriam. I can identify and understand the struggles of trying to keep your head down and not be noticed. Asha touched on the very essence of mother, daughter , and womanhood. Of how we so often give away our selves and then pass this practice along to our children. Well written and extremely emotional. Loved this book.