Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings

A Novel

    • 4.3 • 13 Ratings
    • $12.99
    • $12.99

Publisher Description

“Dazzling. . . The most revolutionary reimagining of Jefferson’s life ever.” –Ron Charles, Washington Post

Winner of the Crook’s Corner Book Prize

Longlisted for the 2016 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize

A debut novel about Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, in whose story the conflict between the American ideal of equality and the realities of slavery and racism played out in the most tragic of terms.

 
Novels such as Toni Morrison’s Beloved, The Known World by Edward P. Jones, James McBride’s The Good Lord Bird and Cloudsplitter by Russell Banks are a part of a long tradition of American fiction that plumbs the moral and human costs of history in ways that nonfiction simply can't. Now Stephen O’Connor joins this company with a profoundly original exploration of the many ways that the institution of slavery warped the human soul, as seen through the story of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings. O’Connor’s protagonists are rendered via scrupulously researched scenes of their lives in Paris and at Monticello that alternate with a harrowing memoir written by Hemings after Jefferson’s death, as well as with dreamlike sequences in which Jefferson watches a movie about his life, Hemings fabricates an "invention" that becomes the whole world, and they run into each other "after an unimaginable length of time" on the New York City subway. O'Connor is unsparing in his rendition of the hypocrisy of the Founding Father and slaveholder who wrote "all men are created equal,” while enabling Hemings to tell her story in a way history has not allowed her to. His important and beautifully written novel is a deep moral reckoning, a story about the search for justice, freedom and an ideal world—and about the survival of hope even in the midst of catastrophe.

GENRE
Fiction & Literature
RELEASED
2016
April 5
LANGUAGE
EN
English
LENGTH
624
Pages
PUBLISHER
Penguin Publishing Group
SELLER
PENGUIN GROUP USA, INC.
SIZE
2.2
MB

Customer Reviews

P J Mac ,

Our flawed Founding father

Unique angle of the story of Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemings, with whom he fathered several children. Different approach to an ugly part of our history.

kmoore.hickory ,

Interesting yet odd

Since there is so little historical concrete knowledge of Sally or the relationship, you get these literary works of fiction based on sparse facts. This author took great liberties to display his idea of artist writing. If it weren’t for the odd story interruptions with poetry, flashbacks, futuristic dreams, it would have been pretty good. This made the story choppy and lose flow. Added nothing to the value. Just annoying.

Dedad1 ,

Thomas Jefferson dreams of Sally Hemings

I never write reviews, but this book is awesome. Thought provoking, with enough historical detail, one can imagine just how such a relationship could have occurred. I could have done without the chapters interspersed on how Jefferson would have reacted to our era, which were merely something to get through. But overall a very eye opening book, well worth reading. If you are on the fence about reading this book, just do it--you will not regret it.

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