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Summary

A top 10 New York Times best seller

An Oprah book club pick

One of Barack Obama’s favourite books of the year

A Washington Post best audiobook of 2021

A Glamour best audiobook of 2021

An Audiofile best audiobook of 2021

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.

Ailey Pearl Garfield grows up between the City in the north and summers spent in her mother’s small hometown of Chicasetta, Georgia. From an early age, she finds herself in a battle for belonging that’s made all the more difficult by a hurt in her past, as well as the whispers of women—her mother, Belle, her sister, Lydia, and a maternal line reaching back two centuries—that urge Ailey to succeed in their stead.

To come to terms with her identity, 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 Ailey 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.

LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION • SHORTLISTED FOR THE CENTER FOR FICTION FIRST NOVEL PRIZE • LONGLISTED FOR THE ASPEN LITERARY PRIZE

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2021 Honorée Fanonne Jeffers (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"Astonishing.... I lived in this novel for three weeks. It is long. It is a journey. It is something so remarkable I’m not sure we collectively ever even dreamed it." (Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple)

"Deeply moving.... it is magnificent." (Sarah Winman, author of Still Life)

"An exceptional, absolutely transfixing audio version of a monumental work." (Washington Post)

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An extraordinary read

Despite the laborious 29+ hours read, I managed to consume it over only four days, the reason? My inability to stop listening. The realness of the various voices of all the characters and the depth of the feelings stirred up in me at the indignity of the treatment of the slaves meant I had to see it through. Then there was the humour mixed with unutterably vile descriptions of brutality of the slave master,lead me on a roller coaster of emotions I’d have preferred not to have been stirred towards,nonetheless I am grateful for the
honesty and bravery it must have taken the author to write. CH

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Slow burner but worth every minute

Slow burner but well worth persevering. It’s shines a light on current days issues but at the same time shows how these issues have remained consistent throughout history. Thought provoking and full of feeling.

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Did not want this to be over

Really enjoyed this book. Well written and informative as well as an amazing story. Also so we’ll preformed.

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A must read

This book, an historical novel draws on multiple factual resources and as such a an important text for anyone wanting to understand the impact of slavery and the removal of indigenous people. You have taught me so much Ms Jeffers. Thank you.

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Completely enthralling!

I adored this epic book! Beautiful narration of an amazing family history - I devoured this!

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Great story!

I was immersed in this story for a month and got used to the main characters thanks to the great narration as they felt quite close and likeable. Yes, it takes 29 hours to listen the whole audiobook but it is worth your time.