Grace: Book summary and reviews of Grace by Natashia Deon

Grace

by Natashia Deon

Grace by Natashia Deon X
Grace by Natashia Deon
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About this book

Book Summary

A universal story of freedom, love, and motherhood, told in a dazzling and original voice set against a rich and transporting historical backdrop.

For a runaway slave in the 1840s south, life on the run can be just as dangerous as life under a sadistic Massa. That's what fifteen-year-old Naomi learns after she escapes the brutal confines of life on an Alabama plantation. Striking out on her own, she must leave behind her beloved Momma and sister Hazel and takes refuge in a Georgia brothel run by a freewheeling, gun-toting Jewish madam named Cynthia. There, amidst a revolving door of gamblers, prostitutes, and drunks, Naomi falls into a star-crossed love affair with a smooth-talking white man named Jeremy who frequents the brothel's dice tables all too often.

The product of Naomi and Jeremy's union is Josey, whose white skin and blonde hair mark her as different from the other slave children on the plantation. Having been taken in as an infant by a free slave named Charles, Josey has never known her mother, who was murdered at her birth. Josey soon becomes caught in the tide of history when news of the Emancipation Proclamation reaches the declining estate and a day of supposed freedom quickly turns into a day of unfathomable violence that will define Josey - and her lost mother - for years to come.

Deftly weaving together the stories of Josey and Naomi - who narrates the entire novel unable to leave her daughter alone in the land of the living - Grace is a sweeping, intergenerational saga featuring a group of outcast women during one of the most compelling eras in American history.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A haunting, visceral novel that heralds the birth of a powerful new voice in American fiction." - Kirkus

"Starred Review Deón is a writer of great talent, using lyrical language and convincing, unobtrusive dialect to build portraits of each tragic individual as the sprawling story moves to its redemptive end." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. Deón stays in control of her complex material, from its clever parallel structure to the women's psychological reactions to relentless tension. Readers will ache for these strong characters and yearn for them to find freedom and peace." - Booklist

"There are moments of love in this harsh, affecting first novel, but the story mostly conveys the taking of personal freedom and human dignity. " - Library Journal

"Natashia Deon's superlative, gorgeously written debut grips you by the throat, exploring a teeming, post-Civil War world where the emancipation of slaves can be anything but freedom, violence is as casual as a cough, and love between a mother and a daughter can transcend even death. Scorchingly brilliant, this is one novel that already feels like a classic." - Caroline Leavitt, New York Times Bestselling author of Is This Tomorrow and Pictures of You

"Reading it, I thought of murder ballads, those songs of melancholy and injustice. Natashia Deon's genius lies, in part, in writing a book that sustains a murder ballad's intensity for hundreds of pages and gets into your bones like a song." - Rebecca Solnit, author of Men Explain Things to Me and The Faraway Nearby

"Grace is a swirling wild ride into the sheer terror of slavery and the aftermath, a deep travel into the inexhaustible spirit of survival of her characters, and an eye into fields and forests which remain unforgettable. " - Susan Straight, author of Between Heaven and Here

This information about Grace shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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More Information

Natashia Deón is the recipient of a PEN Center USA Emerging Voices Fellowship and has been awarded fellowships and residencies at Yale, Bread Loaf, Dickinson House in Belgium and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. Named one of 2013's Most Fascinating People by L.A. Weekly, she has an MFA from UC Riverside and is the creator of the popular LA-based reading series Dirty Laundry Lit. Her stories and essays have appeared in The Rumpus, The Rattling Wall, B O D Y, The Feminist Wire, and You: An Anthology of Second Person Essays, among others. She has taught creative writing for Gettysburg College, PEN Center USA, and 826LA. A practicing lawyer, she currently teaches law at Trinity Law School. Visit Natashia at natashiadeon.com.

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