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Critical Praise

"Astonishingly powerful...Ms. Mathis gives us a haunting --- and, yes, hopeful --- glimpse of the possibility of redemption and the resilience of the human spirit."
    — The New York Times

"A remarkable page-turner of a novel...spans decades and covers dreams lost, found and denied."
    — Chicago Tribune

"Enthralling...One remarkably resilient woman is placed against the hopes and struggles of millions of African Americans who held this nation to its promise."
    — The Washington Post

"Captivate[s] from the first pages...As certainly as August Wilson did in the plays of his twentieth-century cycle, Mathis is chronicling our nation."
    — The Boston Globe

"Raw and intimate...Gracefully told...Deeply felt...Compelling."
    — The New York Times Book Review

"The opening pages of Ayana’s debut took my breath away. I can’t remember when I read anything that moved me in quite this way, besides the work of Toni Morrison."
    — Oprah Winfrey

"A triumph...Magnificently structured, and a sentence-by-sentence treasure—lyric, direct, and true."
    — Salon

"A dazzling debut, rich in language and psychological insight...Mathis’s characters are those rarest of fictional creations: real living, breathing people."
    — Huffington Post

"An intimate, often lyrical daisy-chain of stories...We feel the exhilaration of starting over, the basic human need to belong, and the inexorable pull back to a place that, for better and worse, you call home."
    — Vogue

"Like Toni Morrison, the author has a gift for showing just how heavily history weighs on families."
    — Entertainment Weekly

"Stunningly good...Blazes fearlessly into the darkness of divided spirits and hungry hearts."
    — The Seattle Times

"Accomplished storytelling...This brutal, illuminating version of the twentieth century African-American experience belongs alongside those of Toni Morrison, Alice Walker and Zora Neale Hurston."
    — Newsday

"Hypnotic...In this evocative, ambitious novel, the tragedy is biblical, the reckoning stretches over generations, and a gravitas is granted to otherwise-invisible women and men.
    — The Plain Dealer

"Beautifully imagined and elegantly written...Ayana Mathis is a hugely talented writer who has authored a wise and ambitious first novel."
    — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"Visceral, heart-wrenching...An exceptional first novel."
    — St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"Remarkable...Mathis weaves this story with confidence, proving herself a gifted and powerful writer."
    — Publishers Weekly(starred)

"An excellent debut...Appealingly earthbound and plainspoken, and the book’s structure is ingenious."
    — Kirkus Reviews(starred)

"Stunning...Mathis writes with blazing insight into the complexities of sexuality, marriage, family relationships, backbone, fraudulence, and racism in a molten novel of lives racked with suffering yet suffused with beauty.
    — Booklist(starred)