Hello, book lovers! I’m actually off from my day job today (yay!), but instead of deep diving into the new book I started yesterday (The Outsider by Stephen King), I’m at the library attempting to bang out formatting and editing work for some authors I work with (although I’m almost done with the first section of The Outsider and my brain is already churning at the skillful structure, the characterization, and the way he’s fleshed out this fictional area in Oklahoma despite the tight focus. I can’t wait to figure out what in the world is going on). I missed Monday’s usual Get in My Kindle, but there are so many great books coming out, I couldn’t miss sharing a new one with you this week. Today, in keeping with the little dip we took into Magical Realism yesterday, I’m sharing a novel described as having “an exhilarating range, magical realism, and history.”
Title: She Would Be King
Author: Wayétu Moore
Release Date: September 11, 2018
Description: 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.
Why I Can’t Wait to Read: As you might have learned yesterday, I’m not very familiar with magical realism. When anyone said those words to me, the only book I could possibly name was 100 Years of Solitude, which I haven’t read. I’m also not a big fan of historical fiction. It’s not historical fiction’s fault; I just feel like I have to KNOW the history in order to appreciate the fiction, and unless it’s a well-known, interesting event or period in history, chances are I don’t know enough about it to suit me. Nothing about this book’s genres screams “Put me in your kindle, Erica Denise!” So why is it here?
Simply put, the story sounds fascinating. A novel sweeping three countries, with three extraordinary people who possess extraordinary gifts, who meet in a land and somehow bring disparate people together to form a new nation? Intriguing. The fact it pulls together Africans and people of the diaspora and talks about a history I’ve always found myself wondering about raises my interest level.
If you’re playing book bingo or part of a challenge, it’s a perfect storm of checkmarks: diversity, magical realism, historical fiction, a debut novel, a woman writer of color, etc.
I’m a reader who loves to discover a new voice. I’m always looking for debut authors and their works. I search out their interviews to see what they’re passionate about and how they tell a story well before I investigate their books. Through the wonders of the internet, I somehow found myself following Wayétu Moore on Instagram. Her feed is full of posts from her recent trip to visit family in Africa, meeting with people whose ancestors owned her ancestors, and even her recent wedding. She’s shown herself to be a thoughtful writer who knows how to tell a story even in a concise space. I’m looking forward to reading what she does in a longer form.
Are you a fan of debut novels? Looking to read in a new to you genre? What book outside of your usual reading zone has you intrigued?