The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis is a debut of extraordinary distinction: through the life of her unforgettable heroine, Hattie Shepherd, the author tells the story of the children of the Great Migration, a story of bitterness and love and the promise of a new North, built on the backs of Hattie’s children.
The book, out January 15, is getting a lot of wonderful reviews already! See what all the excitement is about …You can request your own eGalley here.
“Cutting, emotional…pure heartbreak…though Mathis has inherited some of Toni Morrison’s poetic intonation, her own prose is appealingly earthbound and plainspoken, and the book’s structure is ingenious…an excellent debut.”
–Kirkus Reviews (starred)
“Writing with stunning authority, clarity, and courage, debut novelist Mathis pivots forward in time, spotlighting intensely dramatic episodes in the lives of Hattie’s nine subsequent children (and one grandchild to make the ‘twelve tribes’), galvanizing crises that expose the crushed dreams and anguished legacy of the Great Migration…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.”
-Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred)
“Remarkable…Mathis weaves this story with confidence, proving herself a gifted and powerful writer.”
-Publishers Weekly (starred)
In 1923, seventeen-year-old Hattie Shepherd flees Georgia for Philadelphia, where, though her first two babies die because she can’t afford medicine, she keeps nine children alive with collard greens, old southern remedies, and sheer love. Saddled with a husband who will bring her nothing but disappointment, she prepares her children for a world she knows will not be kind to them. Their trials are the trials on which the history of America was forged, a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit, and a force stronger than love or trouble, the determination to get by and get through. A searing portrait of an unforgettable family, an emotionally transfixing drama of human striving in the face of insurmountable adversity, and a ferocious vision of humanity at its most threadbare and elemental, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie introduces a writer of the very first order.