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Black studies

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

Ayana Mathis.
Publisher Knopf  
Format hardcover
ISBN 9780385350280
Pages/Publication Date 243/2012
Daedalus Item Code 38514
This item is not available.
(Oprah's Book Club Selection, with starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Kirkus Reviews) In her extraordinary debut novel Ayana Mathis tells the story of the Great Migration through the trials of one remarkable family. In 1923, African American teenager Hattie Shepherd flees Georgia and settles in Philadelphia, hoping for a chance at a better life. Instead, the man she marries brings her nothing but disappointment, and she watches helplessly as her firstborn twins succumb to an illness that a few pennies could have prevented. Hattie gives birth to nine more children, raising them with grit and mettle and not an ounce of the tenderness they crave, preparing them for the calamities they are sure to face in a world that will not be kind to them. Their stories are glorious, harrowing, unexpectedly uplifting, and blazing with life in this emotionally transfixing page-turner, a searing portrait of striving in the face of insurmountable adversity, reflecting the larger journey of a nation struggling with a horrific social legacy.

"A vibrant and compassionate portrait of a family hardened and scattered by circumstance and yet deeply a family. Its language is elegant in its purity and rigor. The characters are full of life, mingled thing that it is, and dignified by the writer's judicious tenderness towards them. This first novel is a work of rare maturity."—Marilynne Robinson

"The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is beautiful and necessary from the very first sentence. The human lives it renders are on every page lowdown and glorious, fallen and redeemed, and all at the same time. They would be too heartbreaking to follow, in fact, were they not observed in such a generous and artful spirit of hope, in a spirit of mercy, in the spirit of love. Ayana Mathis has written a treasure of a novel."—Paul Harding

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