Synopses & Reviews
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - OPRAH'S BOOK CLUB PICK - From the National Book Award-winning author of Between the World and Me, a boldly conjured debut novel about a magical gift, a devastating loss, and an underground war for freedom.
NOMINATED FOR THE NAACP IMAGE AWARD - NAMED ONE OF PASTE'S BEST NOVELS OF THE DECADE - NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Time - NPR - The Washington Post - Chicago Tribune - Vanity Fair - Esquire - Good Housekeeping - Paste - Town & Country - The New York Public Library - Kirkus Reviews - Library Journal
Young Hiram Walker was born into bondage. When his mother was sold away, Hiram was robbed of all memory of her — but was gifted with a mysterious power. Years later, when Hiram almost drowns in a river, that same power saves his life. This brush with death births an urgency in Hiram and a daring scheme: to escape from the only home he's ever known.
So begins an unexpected journey that takes Hiram from the corrupt grandeur of Virginia's proud plantations to desperate guerrilla cells in the wilderness, from the coffin of the Deep South to dangerously idealistic movements in the North. Even as he's enlisted in the underground war between slavers and the enslaved, Hiram's resolve to rescue the family he left behind endures.
This is the dramatic story of an atrocity inflicted on generations of women, men, and children — the violent and capricious separation of families — and the war they waged to simply make lives with the people they loved. Written by one of today's most exciting thinkers and writers, The Water Dancer is a propulsive, transcendent work that restores the humanity of those from whom everything was stolen.
"Coates balances the horrors of slavery against the fantastical....It is a novel interested in the psychological effects of slavery, a grief that Coates is especially adept at parsing." Esi Edugyan, The New York Times Book Review
"Nearly every paragraph is laced through with dense, gorgeously evocative descriptions of a vanished world and steeped in its own vivid vocabulary." Entertainment Weekly
"This potent book about America's most disgraceful sin establishes [Ta-Nehisi Coates] as a first-rate novelist." San Francisco Chronicle
About the Author
Ta-Nehisi Coates is the author of The Beautiful Struggle, We Were Eight Years in Power, and Between the World and Me, which won the National Book Award in 2015. He is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. Coates lives in New York City with his wife and son.