Men We Reaped
‘And then we heard the rain falling and that was the blood falling; and when we came to get in the crops, it was dead men that we reaped’ Harriet Tubman
Jesmyn Ward’s acclaimed memoir shines a light on the community she comes from in the small town of DeLisle, Mississippi, a place of quiet beauty and fierce attachment. Here, in the space of four years, she lost five young black men dear to her, including her beloved brother – to accidents, murder and suicide. Their deaths were seemingly unconnected, yet their lives had been connected by identity and place. As Jesmyn dealt with these losses, she came to a staggering truth: the fates of these young men were predetermined by who they were and where they were from, because racism and economic struggle breed a certain kind of bad luck.
The agonising reality brought Jesmyn to write, at last, their true stories and her own.
A brutal, moving memoir ... Anyone who emerges from America's black working-class youth with words as fine as Ward's deserves a hearing * Guardian * When I first read her memoir, Men We Reaped - about five young black men, all of whom died within a span of four years of four years in her life - I understood the weight of grief as one struggles to live ... She is a modern-day William Faulkner, painting tapestries of an America that has not been heard -- Lee Daniels, Oscar-nominated director and producer Raw, beautiful and dangerous ... Ward's singular voice and her full embrace of her anger and sorrow set this work apart from those that have trodden similar ground * New York Times Book Review * Acute and often beautiful * Financial Times * Haunting -- Laurie Penny * New Statesman Books of the Year * Elegiac, rage-filled, and uncommonly brave * Vogue * A brilliant book about beauty and death ... Ward is one of those rare writers who's traveled across America's deepening class rift with her sense of truth intact * Los Angeles Times * An important, and perhaps even essential, book * San Francisco Chronicle * Lavishly endowed with literary craft and hard-earned wisdom * Time * A memoir about loss in rural Mississippi that burns with brilliance * Harper's Bazaar * A lovely book about stuff so painful that Ward must have written it in a kind of fever ... The final chapters are so moving that you have to avert your eyes, both for the trauma and the tenderness * Entertainment Weekly * A memoir that, in plainsong prose punctuated with sudden poetic flashes, schools us in the unforgiving experiences from which [Ward] has drawn her triumphal fiction . . . Unvarnished and penetrating * Elle *
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