- File Size: 2274 KB
- Print Length: 312 pages
- Publisher: Graywolf Press (September 11, 2018)
- Publication Date: September 11, 2018
- Sold by: Macmillan
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07GDB6CWX
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,319 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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She Would Be King: A Novel Kindle Edition
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About the Author
“Moore skillfully reconsiders the idealism of the early African-American settlers through their interactions with the indigenous peoples and braids together intimate story lines centered around universal themes: falling in love, defying familial expectations and the difficulties of doing the right thing.”―The New York Times
“[A] bold de´but. . . . The force and the symbolism of myth pervade Moore’s engrossing tale.”―The New Yorker
“Reading Wayétu Moore’s debut novel, She Would Be King, feels a lot like watching a superb athlete’s performance. . . . Moore makes deft use of magical realism, and her plot and its details are compelling. . . . Like her remarkable protagonist Gbessa, the author has tapped into her own backstory–and emerged with literary superpowers.”―TIME
“This compelling debut novel by Wayétu Moore blends historical fiction with magical realism in an exhilarating tale of the formation of Liberia. Moore effortlessly weaves the threads of indigenous West African tribes, American and Caribbean slavery, and British colonialism together to tell the creation story of a new nation, complete with unforgettable characters and a dynamic voice.”―Marie Claire
“Hotly anticipated. . . . A breathtaking retelling of the founding of Liberia. . . . Wayétu Moore’s magical realism can make anyone believe in how connected humans are to the world around them.”―Glamour
“Fans of Gabriel Garcia Marquez will be intrigued by this debut novel, a reimagining of Liberia’s infancy in the 19th century.”―Harper’s Bazaar
“In She Would Be King, debut novelist Wayétu Moore reimagines Liberia’s past, building a world so clear and evocative you would swear you were in it.”―BuzzFeed
“Moore’s debut unflinchingly depicts the convergence of brutal forces―colonialism, the slave trade―while brushing it with a glimmer of magic.”―HuffPost
“Moore's vivid characters, beguiling language and powerful subject matter engage us thoroughly. The book is unforgettable.”―Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
“Moore veers from fantasy to lush descriptions and sharp characterization, shedding light on the fleeting moment when the vast African diaspora reversed itself.”―Vulture
“Stunning. . . . It is an epic narrative, weaving together themes of diasporic conflict, the legacy of bondage, isolation, and community, and it offers a transcendent, important look at the ways in which the past is never fully behind us, and instead echoes throughout everything we do.”―NYLON
“Moore skillfully blends historical fiction with magical realism in this immersive interpretation of Liberia’s roots.”―BUST
“This dynamic novel leaves you both satisfied and full of anticipation for what’s to come, in fiction and in reality.”―The Rumpus
“Moore’s debut is magnetic.”―Santa Fe New Mexican
“Women everywhere will find themselves admiring the powerful Gbessa in She Would Be King.”―PopSugar
“Moore’s insightful, emotional descriptions graft these stories right onto readers’ hearts .”―BookPage
“Composed and compelling, brimming with devastating truths and sparkling with ferocity, this is a masterpiece of a debut.”―BookReporter.com
“The dialog is fluid and poetic, allowing readers to imagine the events, sights, smells, feelings, and sensations. As with Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing, this work will appeal to lovers of African, African American, and literary fiction.”―Library Journal, starred review
“Moore uses an accomplished, penetrating style―with clever swerves into fantasy―to build effective critiques of tribal misogyny, colonial abuse, and racism.”―Publishers Weekly
“An ambitious, genre-hopping, continent-spanning novel. . . . Moore is a brisk and skilled storyteller who weaves her protagonists' disparate stories together with aplomb yet is also able to render her sprawling cast of characters in ways that feel psychologically compelling. In addition, the novel's various settings―Virginia, Jamaica, and West Africa―are depicted so lushly that readers will find themselves enchanted.”―Kirkus Reviews--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
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The novel is in two “books” or two parts if you will. The first (titled “The Three”) is a sort of background coming of age story for the three main characters, Gbessa, June Dey, and Norman Aragon. It’s tragic but these are superhero kids so it’s also fun and no hardship to read. The second part of the novel (titled “She Would Be King” focused more on the history of Liberia and the repatriation of slaves and the attack on indigenous culture and beliefs. I had assumed that Gbessa was the title character but I felt like she (understandably) became diminished for much of this second part of the novel so that her re-emergence near the end seems a little like “see what love made her do,” which I suppose is more realistic than her being moved by people who were inhuman to her.
For the most part, this reads like a character-driven adventure story set in Liberia’s actual history of becoming a nation. The author makes this story so engaging that afterwards, you’ll want to go study some Liberian history to find out if life (Gbessa), resilience (June Dey) and unseen powers (Norman) prevailed in the end. I personally preferred Book 1 to Book 2 because in my opinion, Book 2 dwelt a lot on building the world of resettled Liberia then in the end rushing over what I felt should have been the real meat of the story i.e. the why and how of the “SHE being king.” I feel like a lot had been building with the three compelling characters throughout the novel and in the end, that potential wasn’t explored and they were sort of just written a rushed (and less creative than the rest of the novel) conclusion. That’s why I’m giving this novel 4 stars out of 5, but this is still an excellent read that I highly recommend.
Through magical realism she describes the resiliency and strength of will that was required for survival.
Although the cruelty of slavers and those who "owned" enslaved individuals is deep and pervasive, the human spirit and will to survive are affirmed.
Top international reviews
The three main characters' aspects of magical realism are perfectly chosen.