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BookBrowse Reviews Let Us Descend by Jesmyn Ward

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Let Us Descend

A Novel

by Jesmyn Ward

Let Us Descend by Jesmyn Ward X
Let Us Descend by Jesmyn Ward
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  • Published:
    Oct 2023, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Lisa Ahima
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In pre-Civil War America, the enslaver of teenage Annis and her mother separates and sells them in New Orleans. On a new plantation, Annis tries to survive brutalities while being haunted by a spirit.

Separated from her mother and everyone she loves by her enslaver, Annis tries to figure out what remains. A spirit, Mama Aza, has been following Annis's lineage for generations, waiting to be seen. When Annis's enslaver sells her to a plantation in New Orleans, five states away from her birthplace in Virginia, Mama Aza asserts her presence. Annis navigates surviving the brutalities of slavery while learning how to live a life of freedom on her own terms — and how that may involve divine intervention. Jesmyn Ward's Let Us Descend is as horrific as it is beautiful, the definition of grief itself. The way Ward manipulates language is as demanding of attention as Mama Aza; this novel is a force to be reckoned with.

Something that appealed to me on a narrative, structural level is the story's main points of tension. By default, slavery offers its horrors as a tension. Annis's ...

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    A riveting account of the extraordinary abolitionist, liberator, and writer Thomas Smallwood, who bought his own freedom, led hundreds out of slavery, and named the underground railroad, from Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist, Scott Shane. Flee North tells the story for the first time of an American hero all but lost to history.

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    The Water Dancer meets The Prophets in this spare, gripping, and beautifully rendered novel exploring love and friendship among a group of enslaved Black strivers in the mid-19th century.

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