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THE WATER DANCER

A story about Hiram’s greatest loss and magical gift. 

Find the truth under

the water.

DEMYSTIFY THE MYTH

CLARIFYING TA-NEHISI

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In his boldly imagined first novel, Ta-Nehisi Coates, the National Book Award–winning author of Between the World and Me, brings home the most intimate evil of enslavement: the cleaving and separation of families.

 

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a distinguished writer in residence at NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. He is the author of the bestselling books The Beautiful Struggle, We Were Eight Years in Power, and Between The World And Me, which won the National Book Award in 2015. Ta-Nehisi is a recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. He is also the current author of the Marvel comics The Black Panther and Captain America.

CLARIFYING TA-NEHISI

author.png

In his boldly imagined first novel, Ta-Nehisi Coates, the National Book Award–winning author of Between the World and Me, brings home the most intimate evil of enslavement: the cleaving and separation of families.

 

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a distinguished writer in residence at NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. He is the author of the bestselling books The Beautiful Struggle, We Were Eight Years in Power, and Between The World And Me. Ta-Nehisi is a recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. He is also the current author of the Marvel comics The Black Panther and Captain America.

 

SHINING FRAGMENTS

"

"

I was running, when what I needed was to fly.

But how?

What was that power that could pull a man out of the depths?

 

UNCOVER THE TRUTH

Young Hiram Walker was born into bondage. When his mother was sold away, Hiram was robbed of all memory of her—but was gifted with a mysterious power. Years later, when Hiram almost drowns in a river, that same power saves his life. This brush with death births an urgency in Hiram and a daring scheme: to escape from the only home he’s ever known.

 

So begins an unexpected journey that takes Hiram from the corrupt grandeur of Virginia’s proud plantations to desperate guerrilla cells in the wilderness, from the coffin of the deep South to dangerously utopic movements in the North. Even as he’s enlisted in the underground war between slavers and the enslaved, Hiram’s resolve to rescue the family he left behind endures..

 

This is the dramatic story of an atrocity inflicted on generations of women, men, and children—the violent and capricious separation of families—and the war they waged to simply make lives with the people they loved. Written by one of today’s most exciting thinkers and writers, The Water Dancer is a propulsive, transcendent work that restores the humanity of those from whom everything was stolen.

LUMINOUS REVIEWS

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a genius.

 

(Seriously, he’s got the MacArthur Fellowship to prove it.) I’ve read a lot of his previous work in The Atlantic, along with Between the World and Me, so I was excited to find out that he’s chosen to branch out into historical fiction with The Water Dancer. He’s a gifted writer, his talent shines in any genre in which he chooses to write.

 

The first thing that struck me in The Water Dancer was the level of detail in each sentence. It’s obvious that Coates informed his writing with thorough research, and he used this knowledge to infuse each line with details that vividly depict both the setting (antebellum America) and his characters’ thoughts, feelings, and emotions. 

I thoroughly enjoyed The Water Dancer and would highly recommend it to anyone interested in a unique, accessible story about slavery.

 

Stories about slavery tend to be quite dark, horrific, and rightfully upsetting, which can make them difficult to read. Thankfully this book strikes a nice balance between revealing those horrors and examining the psychological impact on those who lived through them, while also providing moments of joy, happiness, and most importantly: hope. Hope that the characters will not only survive, but live to enjoy a life of peace and purpose. 

I also loved that this book doesn't fit snugly in the historical fiction genre. It's based off of real places and things (and there's even an appearance of at least one real historical figure), but Coates re-imagines them in a unique way that completely fits the context of the story.

 

It also has elements of magical realism that work so well with the purpose of the story. It's not historical fiction as we're used to, but it's new and beautiful and delightful. 

 
 
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