The stunning only novel by the celebrated poet and first Black author to win a Pulitzer Prize, introduced by Margo Jefferson.
‘Such a wonderful book. Utterly unique, exquisitely crafted and quietly powerful. I loved it and want everyone to read this lost literary treasure.’ Bernardine Evaristo
‘Maud Martha finds beauty in the brutal formative moments that make us. It is one of my favorite depictions of how a woman comes to trust her eyes.’ Raven Leilani
‘The quotidian rises to an exquisite portraiture of black womanhood in the hands of one of America’s most foundational writers.’ Claudia Rankine
‘Maud Martha reveals the poetry, power and splendor of an ordinary life.’ Tayari Jones
What, what, am I to do with all of this life?
Maud Martha Brown is a little girl growing up on the South Side of 1940s Chicago. Amidst the crumbling taverns and overgrown yards, she dreams: of New York, romance, her future. She admires dandelions, learns to drink coffee, falls in love, decorates her kitchenette, visits the Jungly Hovel, guts a chicken, buys hats, gives birth. But her lighter-skinned husband has dreams too: of the Foxy Cats Club, other women, war. And the ‘scraps of baffled hate’ – a certain word from a saleswoman; that visit to the cinema; the cruelty of a department store Santa Claus- are always there .
Written in 1953 but never published in Britain, Maud Martha is a poetic collage of happenings that forms an extraordinary portrait of an ordinary life: one lived with wisdom, humour, protest, rage, dignity, and joy.