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She Would Be King: A Novel

Category: Book
By (author): Moore, Wayetu
Subject:  FICTION / African American / Contemporary Women
  FICTION / African American / Historical
  FICTION / General
  FICTION / Literary
Audience: general/trade
Publisher: Graywolf Press
Published: September 2018
Format: Book-hardcover
Pages: 312
Size: 9.00in x 6.00in
Our Price:
$ 35.50
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Additional Notes

From The Publisher*

A novel of exhilarating range, magical realism, and history-a dazzling retelling of Liberia's formation

Wayétu Moore's powerful debut novel, She Would Be King, reimagines the dramatic story of Liberia's early years through three unforgettable characters who share an uncommon bond. Gbessa, exiled from the West African village of Lai, is starved, bitten by a viper, and left for dead, but still she survives. June Dey, raised on a plantation in Virginia, hides his unusual strength until a confrontation with the overseer forces him to flee. Norman Aragon, the child of a white British colonizer and a Maroon slave from Jamaica, can fade from sight when the earth calls him. When the three meet in the settlement of Monrovia, their gifts help them salvage the tense relationship between the African American settlers and the indigenous tribes, as a new nation forms around them.

Moore's intermingling of history and magical realism finds voice not just in these three characters but also in the fleeting spirit of the wind, who embodies an ancient wisdom. "If she was not a woman," the wind says of Gbessa, "she would be king." In this vibrant story of the African diaspora, Moore, a talented storyteller and a daring writer, illuminates with radiant and exacting prose the tumultuous roots of a country inextricably bound to the United States. She Would Be King is a novel of profound depth set against a vast canvas and a transcendent debut from a major new author.

Review Quote*

"Moore uses an accomplished, penetrating style-with clever swerves into fantasy-to build effective critiques of tribal misogyny, colonial abuse, and racism."-Publishers Weekly

"An ambitious, genre-hopping, continent-spanning novel. . . . Moore is a brisk and skilled storyteller who weaves her protagonists' disparate stories together with aplomb yet is also able to render her sprawling cast of characters in ways that feel psychologically compelling. In addition, the novel's various settings-Virginia, Jamaica, and West Africa-are depicted so lushly that readers will find themselves enchanted."-Kirkus Reviews

Biographical NoteWayétu Moore is the founder of One Moore Book and is a graduate of Howard University, Columbia University, and the University of Southern California. She teaches at the City University of New York's John Jay College and lives in Brooklyn.