The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois

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What to expect

A TOP TEN NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
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

‘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

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 Honorée 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, SingThe Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois is set to be one of the most talked about books of the year.

’An exceptional, absolutely transfixing audio version of a monumental work’
Washington Post

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

Critics Review

  • Three talented narrators transport listeners with this absorbing novel … Narrator Adenrele Ojo could teach a masterclass in narration’ AudioFile

    ‘Poets make the best prose writers. Honorée Fanonne Jeffers’s critically beloved book is a generational epic’ Glamour, Best Audiobooks of 2021

    ‘Three gifted narrators deliver Honorée Fanonne Jeffers’s powerful debut … Prentice Onayemi reads passages from W.E.B. Du Bois’s work in deep, resonant tones … Karen Chilton’s sonorous voice carries with it the perseverance and anguish of the dispossessed … Adenrele Ojo’s voice evolves effortlessly along with her character … Exceptional’ Washington Post

    ‘Triumphant… Quite simply the best book that I have read in a very, very long time… An epic tale of adventure that brings to mind characters you never forget: Meg Murry in A Wrinkle in Time, Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird, Huckleberry FinnJust as Toni Morrison did in Beloved, Jeffers uses fiction to fill in the gaping blanks of those who have been rendered nameless and therefore storyless… A sweeping, masterly debut’ New York Times

    Just as brilliant as it is necessary, just as intimate as it is expansive. An outstanding portrait of an American family and in turn, an outstanding portrait of America’ Angie Thomas, author of The Hate U Give

    ‘It’s awe-inspiring. Massive, unflagging, gripping, gorgeous. A sweeping family saga that is also history at its most intimate and vital. I will be recommending it everyone I know. Unforgettable’ Stef Penney, author of The Tenderness of Wolves

    ‘Beautiful … In Jeffers’ deft hands, the story of race and love in America becomes the Great American Novel’ Jacqueline Woodson, author of Red at the Bone

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