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Palmares

Palmares

"This novel left me spellbound. I'm in awe at Gayl Jones' ability to recreate such a vibrant, vicious period of history in literary form. More than once I felt my heart breaking for Almeyda and the horrors that she and her family endured, only to be mesmerized moments later by her resiliency. The writing itself embodies the richness and mysticism of the story, set in 17th-century Brazil. It was a novel I was happy to take my time with, savoring every short chapter."

Melissa S.

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Author Gayl Jones
Publisher Beacon Press
Publication Date 2021-09-14
Section New Hardcover - Fiction / All Staff Suggestions / Fiction Suggestions / Melissa S.
Type New
Format Hardcover
ISBN 9780807033494

The epic rendering of a Black woman’s journey through slavery and liberation, set in 17th-century colonial Brazil; the return of a major voice in American literature.

First discovered and edited by Toni Morrison, Gayl Jones has been described as one of the great literary writers of the 20th century. Now, for the first time in over 20 years, Jones is ready to publish again. Palmares is the first of five new works by Gayl Jones to be published in the next two years, rewarding longtime fans and bringing her talent to a new generation of readers.

Intricate and compelling, Palmares recounts the journey of Almeyda, a Black slave girl who comes of age on Portuguese plantations and escapes to a fugitive slave settlement called Palmares. Following its destruction, Almeyda embarks on a journey across colonial Brazil to find her husband, lost in battle.

Her story brings to life a world impacted by greed, conquest, and colonial desire. She encounters a mad lexicographer, desperate to avoid military service; a village that praises a god living in a nearby cave; and a medicine woman who offers great magic, at a greater price.

Combining the author’s mastery of language and voice with her unique brand of mythology and magical realism, Jones reimagines the historical novel. The result is a sweeping saga spanning a quarter century, with vibrant settings and unforgettable characters, steeped in the rich oral tradition of its world. Of Gayl Jones, the New Yorker noted, “[Her] great achievement is to reckon with both history and interiority, and to collapse the boundary between them.” Like nothing else before it, Palmares embodies this gift.

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