The Love Songs of W. E. B. Du Bois – Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
A TOP TEN NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERAN OPRAH BOOK CLUB PICKONE OF BARACK OBAMA’S FAVOURITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR
‘Astonishing… It is something so remarkable I’m not sure we collectively ever even dreamed it… A great work infused with love and honesty’ Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple ‘The kind of book that comes around only once a decade…Simply magnificent’ Washington Post
‘Epic… It just consumed me’ Oprah Winfrey, Oprah Book Club
A breath-taking debut novel that chronicles the journey of generations of one American family, from the centuries of the colonial slave trade to our own tumultuous era, by prize-winning poet Honoree Fanonne Jeffers.
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.
Ailey grows up in the north in the City but spends summers in the small Georgia town of Chicasetta. From an early age, she fights a battle for belonging made all the more difficult by a hovering trauma, as well as the whispers of women – her mother, her sister and a maternal line reaching back two centuries – that urge her to succeed in their stead. 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 she 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. With all the dazzling force of Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing and Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing, The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois is set to be one of the most talked about books of the year.
LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION * SHORTLISTED FOR THE CENTER FOR FICTION FIRST NOVEL PRIZE * LONGLISTED FOR THE ASPEN LITERARY PRIZE New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year * Time 10 Best Books of the Year * Washington Post 10 Best Books of the Year * People 10 Best Books of the Year * Booklist 10 Best First Novels of the Year