About this item

The 2020 National Book Award-nominated poet makes her fiction debut with this 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.

About the Author

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers is a poet, fiction writer, and essayist. Her first novel, The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois, is forthcoming from Harper in July 2021; in addition, she's the author of five books of poetry, most recently, The Age of Phillis (Wesleyan, 2020) , based upon fifteen years of research on the life and times of Phillis Wheatley (Peters) , a formerly enslaved person who was the first African American woman to publish a book. Jeffers's poems, stories, and essays have appeared in American Poetry Review, Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry (Norton 2013) , Callaloo, Common-Place: The Journal of Early American Life, The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race (Scribner 2016) , The Kenyon Review, and Virginia Quarterly Review, among others. She is the recipient of fellowships from the American Antiquarian Society, the Aspen Summer Words Conference, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Witter Bynner Foundation through the Library of Congress, and she has been honored with two lifetime achievement notations, the Harper Lee Award for Literary Distinction, and induction into the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame. Jeffers is Critic-at-Large for The Kenyon Review and Professor of English at University of Oklahoma.

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