Books | Fiction / Literary
Tara M. Stringfellow
NATIONAL BESTSELLER • READ WITH JENNA BOOK CLUB PICK AS FEATURED ON TODAY • A spellbinding debut novel tracing three generations of a Southern Black family and one daughter’s discovery that she has the power to change her family’s legacy.“A rhapsodic hymn to Black women.”—The New York Times Book Review“I fell in love with this family, from Joan’s fierce heart to her grandmother Hazel’s determined resilience. Tara Stringfellow will be an author to watch for years to come.”—Jacqueline Woodson, New York Times bestselling author of Red at the BoneLONGLISTED FOR THE ASPEN WORDS LITERARY PRIZE • ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The Boston Globe, NPR, BuzzFeed, Glamour, PopSugarSummer 1995: Ten-year-old Joan, her mother, and her younger sister flee her father’s explosive temper and seek refuge at her mother’s ancestral home in Memphis. This is not the first time violence has altered the course of the family’s trajectory. Half a century earlier, Joan’s grandfather built this majestic house in the historic Black neighborhood of Douglass—only to be lynched days after becoming the first Black detective in the city. Joan tries to settle into her new life, but family secrets cast a longer shadow than any of them expected.As she grows up, Joan finds relief in her artwork, painting portraits of the community in Memphis. One of her subjects is their enigmatic neighbor Miss Dawn, who claims to know something about curses, and whose stories about the past help Joan see how her passion, imagination, and relentless hope are, in fact, the continuation of a long matrilineal tradition. Joan begins to understand that her mother, her mother’s mother, and the mothers before them persevered, made impossible choices, and put their dreams on hold so that her life would not have to be defined by loss and anger—that the sole instrument she needs for healing is her paintbrush.Unfolding over seventy years through a chorus of unforgettable voices that move back and forth in time, Memphis paints an indelible portrait of inheritance, celebrating the full complexity of what we pass down, in a family and as a country: brutality and justice, faith and forgiveness, sacrifice and love.
Tara M. Stringfellow
Random House Publishing Group
Community ReviewsSee all
"Such a beautifully written novel. Definitely one of my favourites that I’ve read so far this year. For starters, the cover page drew me in, and then once I got to reading, I found myself being immersed in this gripping story of generations of Black women and felt everything: joy, sadness, anger, hope… Highly recommend! "
"This book is written so beautifully!! Truly an understatement it's so lyrical I was like this woman has to be a poet. In this story we jump a bit through timelines while switching between Characters I love how cohesive it played out. I like how she shed light on colorism since that's not something I read a lot about she also writes about many other important topics.I love these woman so much and cared about them just as much they are some of my favorite characters I have read about. This book had me feeling so many emotions i be sobbing and laughing every other chapter. There's never a moment when the story was slow it flows story to story with each person so incredibly well. I love the conversation between the characters they feel so real it is tough at times so I loved how Joan and Myas convos made me laugh so much that was a good relief throughout. The acknowledgment at the end of this book is so you can just tell how much an author puts into writing a book by there authors note I swear and in this one you can really feel that everyone needs to pick this one up."
"A stunning kaleidoscope of characters and events in one of America’s most vibrant cities. Bold and perceptive, this novel charges head on to confront topics such as racism, abuse, and family secrets. This is also an ode to mothers, to sisters, to a community that stands together; to support, survival, and following dreams. With breathtaking prose, this story is incredibly haunting yet hopeful from beginning to end. One of the strongest debuts I have ever read. "