INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
ONE OF BARACK OBAMA'S FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2021
AN AUDIBLE, AUDIOFILE, AND WASHINGTON POST BEST AUDIOBOOK OF THE YEAR
AN OPRAH BOOK CLUB SELECTION
LONGLISTED FOR THE PEN/HEMINGWAY AWARD FOR DEBUT NOVEL
A New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year
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
An Indie Next Pick
The 2020 NAACP Image Award-winning poet makes her fiction debut with this National Book Award-longlisted, 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...