Based on a true story, the lives of Libertie and her mother are both heartbreaking and heartwarming. I was especially captured by the narrative voice (Libertie’s) as she interprets both the rich natural world, the cruel residue of slavery, and navigates her life, coming of age both unsure and yet with keen insight. This is a powerful book and beautifully written. Recommended By Kathi K., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
A Roxane Gay Audacious Book Club Selection
Named One of the Most-Anticipated Books of 2021 by:
O, The Oprah Magazine, The Millions, Refinery29, Garden & Gun, Publishers Lunch, BuzzFeed, The Rumpus, BookPage, Harper's Bazaar, and more.
"Pure brilliance. So much will be written about Libertie — how it blends history and magic into a new kind of telling, how it spins the past to draw deft circles around our present — but none of it will measure up to the singular joy of reading this book."
Mira Jacob, author of Good Talk
"This is one of the most thoughtful and amazingly beautiful books I've read all year. Kaitlyn Greenidge is a master storyteller." Jacqueline Woodson, author of Red at the Bone
"Wielding both her knowledge of our history and her incredible sense of story, Kaitlyn Greenidge further establishes herself as one of the sharpest minds working today. Libertie is a novel of epic power and endless grace." Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, author of Friday Black
The critically acclaimed and Whiting Award-winning author of We Love You, Charlie Freeman returns with an unforgettable story about the meaning of freedom.
Coming of age as a free-born Black girl in Reconstruction-era Brooklyn, Libertie Sampson was all too aware that her purposeful mother, a practicing physician, had a vision for their future together: Libertie would go to medical school and practice alongside her. But Libertie, drawn more to music than science, feels stifled by her mother's choices and is hungry for something else — is there really only one way to have an autonomous life? And she is constantly reminded that, unlike her mother, who can pass, Libertie has skin that is too dark. When a young man from Haiti proposes to Libertie and promises she will be his equal on the island, she accepts, only to discover that she is still subordinate to him and all men. As she tries to parse what freedom actually means for a Black woman, Libertie struggles with where she might find it — for herself and for generations to come.
Inspired by the life of one of the first Black female doctors in the United States and rich with historical detail, Kaitlyn Greenidge's new novel resonates in our times and is perfect for readers of Brit Bennett, Min Jin Lee, and Yaa Gyasi.
"Kaitlyn Greenidge has built a lush, imaginative novel, as dark and beautiful as its namesake yet as relevant today as during its 19th-century setting. I didn't want it to end, and I fear that any attempt to render its complexity with brevity equals a failure to capture the book's vast depth and its conversation with so many other important historical and literary works. A page turner and a gorgeous winner." Nafissa Thompson-Spires, author of Heads of the Colored People
"In this singular novel, Kaitlyn Greenidge confronts the anonymizing forces of history with her formidable gifts. Libertie is a glorious, piercing song for the ages--fierce, brilliant, and utterly free." Brandon Taylor, author of Real Life
"The voice that fuels this novel is rooted in the body and rises toward myth, forged of history, ocean salt, iron, and hope. With Libertie, Kaitlyn Greenidge adds an indelible new sound to American literature, and confirms her status as one of our most gifted young writers." Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You and Cleanness
About the Author
Kaitlyn Greenidge's debut novel, We Love You, Charlie Freeman, was one of the New York Times Critics' Top 10 Books of 2016 and a finalist for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. She is a contributing writer for the New York Times, and her writing has also appeared in Vogue, Glamour, the Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Whiting Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Greenidge lives in Brooklyn, New York.