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Let Us Descend: A Novel

Let Us Descend: A Novel


Book Overview: Let Us Descend: A Novel

OPRAH'S BOOK CLUB PICK - From Jesmyn Ward--the two-time National Book Award winner, youngest winner of the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction, and MacArthur Fellow--comes a haunting masterpiece, sure to be an instant classic, about an enslaved girl in the years before the Civil War.

"'Let us descend, ' the poet now began, 'and enter this blind world.'" -- Inferno, Dante Alighieri

Let Us Descend is a reimagining of American slavery, as beautifully rendered as it is heart-wrenching. Searching, harrowing, replete with transcendent love, the novel is a journey from the rice fields of the Carolinas to the slave markets of New Orleans and into the fearsome heart of a Louisiana sugar plantation.

Annis, sold south by the white enslaver who fathered her, is the reader's guide through this hellscape. As she struggles through the miles-long march, Annis turns inward, seeking comfort from memories of her mother and stories of her African warrior grandmother. Throughout, she opens herself to a world beyond this world, one teeming with spirits: of earth and water, of myth and history; spirits who nurture and give, and those who manipulate and take. While Ward leads readers through the descent, this, her fourth novel, is ultimately a story of rebirth and reclamation.

From one of the most singularly brilliant and beloved writers of her generation, this miracle of a novel inscribes Black American grief and joy into the very land--the rich but unforgiving forests, swamps, and rivers of the American South. Let Us Descend is Jesmyn Ward's most magnificent novel yet, a masterwork for the ages.

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Publication Date2023-10-24
Dimensionsin x in x in
Weight lbs
Jesmyn Ward is a profound and award-winning author from the United States, recognized for her compelling narratives that explore life, loss, and survival in America's Southern region. Born and raised in DeLisle, Mississippi, Ward's authentic portrayal of Black experiences in rural communities is largely inspired by her own upbringing. She received a bachelor's from Stanford University and a Masters in creative writing from the University of Michigan, establishing a strong foundation for her significant literary contributions. Ward rose to prominence with her novel "Salvage the Bones" inching her to critical acclaim and success in 2011. The novel, deeply implicative of the socio-economic struggles of a Black family in a Mississippi town in the days leading up to Hurricane Katrina, garnered her the prestigious National Book Award for Fiction. Jesmyn's unique voice and inspired storytelling abilities continued to impress her audience and critics when she won the National Book Award for a second time in 2017 for her novel "Sing, Unburied, Sing," making her the first woman to win the award twice. In addition to her novels, Jesmyn Ward is renowned for her potent memoir, "Men We Reaped", and her powerful anthology, "The Fire This Time", both contributing to much-needed dialogues on loss, racism, and identity within the United States. Her thought-provoking prose offers an intimate insight into the realities of marginalized communities, and her steadfast dedication to truthful storytelling marks her as a vital and influential voice in contemporary literature.


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