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Sorrowland: A Novel Kindle Edition
“If you’ve read Rivers Solomon’s previous work, you’ll be familiar with their fearless explorations of transformation, identity, oppression and power, and Sorrowland continues this investigation with fantastic, terrifying sci-fi brilliance.” ―Karla Strand, Ms.
“Sorrowland is a powerful story about motherhood, survival, and the cruel treatment of Black bodies.” ―Taiwo Balogun, Marie Claire
“A story you simply won’t see coming. You might think you’ve figured out the pillars of its structure after a few chapters, or come to truly understand its protagonist after walking a few dozen pages with her, but to read this powerful, moving and terrifying novel is to enter into a constant state of change. The story envelops you slowly, like a cocoon, wrapping you in its ever-increasing depth and heart until you emerge, at the end, transformed . . . Full of horror, love and incisive observation, Sorrowland is so perfectly plotted that readers won’t be able to predict what’s to come any better than Vern can. It’s a truly powerful piece of storytelling.” ―Matthew Jackson, BookPage
“Science fiction and Gothic horror collide in Solomon’s ambitious third book... Haunting and hopeful, Sorrowland makes expert use of the fantastical to hold a righteous mirror to the very real traumas visited on Black bodies.” ―Adrienne Westenfeld, Esquire
“Solomon once again stretches the boundaries of speculative fiction in this distinct and visceral exploration of the trauma of Black and queer bodies in an all-too believable near future.” ―Anna Mickelsen, Booklist
“Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon contains so much wisdom and insight, wrapped in an abundance of passion and fury and tenderness. This is the first book I've read in ages that I'm certain I will come back to again and again, because there are rich gorgeous passages that I already know will mean more to me on subsequent readings. There is so much going on in this book, too: the spectre of what happens when rebellion is co-opted, our longstanding practice of using Black bodies for cruel and unethical experiments, the audacity of queer love. The arc of this book takes Vern and her babies away from civilization and then back to it ― but they return changed, and they change everyone else, and this book restored my faith in our potential to transform just when I needed it most.”―Charlie Jane Anders
"Sorrowland, from Rivers Solomon, is a fantastical, fierce reckoning. It is the story of Vern, a young girl fleeing the only life she has ever known, her abusive husband, the cult he leads, to create a life for herself and her babies. But the tentacles of Cainland, the home she left, are always following her as she grows into a young woman and something more, something terrifying and powerful that just might allow her to break free from all that haunts her. Sorrowland is gorgeous and the writing, the storytelling, they are magnificent. This country has a dark history of what it’s willing to do to black bodies and Rivers Solomon lays that truth bare in a most unexpected, absolutely brilliant way." ―Roxane Gay
“Sorrowland delivers! Black Power cults. Government conspiracies. Post-Human transformations. A mother willing to defy everything and everyone―even nature itself―to protect her family. Rivers Solomon has once again created an engrossing, emotional, and original read with pages that demand to be turned. The writing is visceral and soul-clenching. The characters--bold, creative, and memorable. The action, heart-stopping. This is imaginative storytelling at its finest. Once I started, I could not put down Sorrowland until I reached the end. And then I wanted more!” ―P. Djèlí Clark, author of Ring Shout
"A furious utopia. Utterly compelling, brilliant and terrifying. Sorrowland seizes the history of white supremacy, racist medical experimentation, and the dream––and danger––of the commune, and gnashes it into something magnificent and truly reparative. An epic fantasy that interweaves righteous, large-scale confrontations with power, extremely sexy and moving erotic gothic horror, and exquisite, meticulous renderings of the daily life of parenting. This is a fairy tale for adults, spangled in the wreckage of the world. A gorgeous, singular, and profound work." –Jordy Rosenberg, author of Confessions of the Fox
“Sorrowland is a wonderland of fantastical and frightening, magical and real, in a world refreshingly unlike ours, yet scarily the same. At the center of this world and leaping off the page is Vern: unstoppable, unforgettable, and unlike anyone you have ever seen before.”―Marlon James, author of Black Leopard, Red Wolf
“Sorrowland is a raw, powerful, and visceral read. With Vern, Rivers Solomon has created a woman who simply side-steps her damage, and level after level of difficulty―young, Black, queer, blind, alone in the woods with two newborns and pursued by monstrous government agents―to assume her own power. Nature, joy, science, belonging, human metamorphosis, generational oppression, strength, and sheer lust for life: if Toni Morrison, M. Night Shyamalan, and Marge Piercy got together they might, if they were lucky, produce something with the unstoppable exhilaration of this novel. Sorrowland is sui generis.” ―Nicola Griffith
“Sorrowland is intense and raw. But in the end it was beautiful in a bittersweet way . . . This book should be read. It was truly spectacular.” ―The Fantasy Inn
- ASIN : B08FGV6LB2
- Publisher : MCD (May 4, 2021)
- Publication date : May 4, 2021
- Language : English
- File size : 4374 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 370 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #159,357 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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I love Howling and Feral. They are not the product of what has been torturing and fabricating Vern; they are the result of Vern's love for them, even when it doesn't make much sense to be and do so. Gogo simply will not quit, no matter how hard Vern pushes her away. Together they inhabit a world almost impossible to hold in my mind but totally at home in my heart.
Rivers Solomon deals with the big issues—racism at its most pernicious, power at its most corrupt, hatred at its most brutal—and they do it within the person of Vern. It's a big story put on the page in the most intimate way.
I'm going to let it sit for a bit then read it again. I was scared of what might happen but, next time through I will just let myself inhabit—the woods, the wild, the physical, the joy.
Fifteen and pregnant, Vern runs away from everything she knows. The abusive husband and cult that she is fleeing hunts her down in the nearby woods, but she evades them. Meanwhile, Vern gives birth to twins while learning to live off the land by trial and error. She feels empowered by her freedom. Her body is much stronger. But the headaches and “hauntings” continue unabated even far away from the cult’s reach. Eventually, Vern and her two children emerge from the woods. Luckily, Vern doesn’t have an inkling of what is in store for them.
The first half of Sorrowland is a compelling and completely different read. It feels like a science-fiction/fantasy fable. And then, screech!!!, it takes a crazy left turn into what I can only describe as “popular entertainment” to avoid spoilers. I felt the foreshadowing of the plot turn but hoped I was wrong. How can such a unique book can’t end in such a stereotypical way? But it did. I wish I had stopped reading at around 60%. For these reasons, I can only rate the book as 3 stars. 5 for the beginning and 1 for the ending averaged together.
Thanks to MCD, Farrar, Straus and Giroux and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
What a wild ride!
When I see that a book is on all of the "to-read" lists, I'm naturally optimistic but always cautiously so. No need for caution here.
_Sorrowland_ is a dash of _Mexican Gothic_, another dash of _The Twelve_, and then just a whole bunch of madness that comes together in a really fascinating and remarkably readable way. I didn't want it to stop. I mean, for the CHARACTERS, I wanted it to stop, but wow. Truly, I couldn't get enough.
Vern, the m.c., is very much why this novel worked so well for me. She is a riveting inclusion not only to this piece but to literature in general. Like most of the characters here, she is intersectionally impacted by her extremely diverse identities, and it is fascinating to see her triumph over what seem like barriers only to transform them into incredible strengths...sometimes. Her children - are these the best named children in all of literature? - enhance her dual nature as a soft and effective mother and a powerful force of strength. Gogo is an absolute highlight, and her inclusion here - especially considering the various identities she possesses - also enhances Vern's story, but gives her a respectful place of her own. And then there are the characters who are and are not there: next level.
Along with the riveting characters, the sense of place, the treatment of institutional racism, the exploration of identities, the portrayals of sex/gender expression/sexuality, and the general flow of the plot all absolutely worked for me. I also love the genre mashup. It never felt gimmicky to me, and there was a strong potential for that to be the case. HIGHLY recommended.