Author(s): Ayana Mathis
For fans of Toni Morrison, an unforgettably powerful novel about a mother's courage, sacrifice and love, set against the volatile history of twentieth century America.
When Hattie clambered from a train, her skirt still hemmed with Georgia mud and the dream of Philadelphia sitting round as a marble in her mouth, she couldn't guess that two years later, aged sixteen, she'd be fighting to keep her baby twins alive. Saddled with a husband who will bring her nothing but disappointment, she raises nine children with grit and monumental courage, but no tenderness. She knows the world will not be kind to them and wants to prepare them as best she can. As her sons and daughters buck against their fates, she feels every one of their triumphs and heartbreaks, for they are all bound together.
A searing portrait of twentieth century America told through the story of an unforgettable family, a transfixing drama of bitterness and love and a ferocious vision of humanity at its rawest; The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is a debut of extraordinary distinction.
'A vibrant and compassionate portrait of a family hardened and scattered by circumstance and yet deeply a family. Its language is elegant in its purity and rigor. The characters are full of life, mingled thing that it is, and dignified by the writer's judicious tenderness towards them. This first novel is a work of rare maturity.' Marilynne Robinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gilead and Orange Prize-winner of Home
'Beautiful and necessary from the very first sentence. The human lives it renders are on every page lowdown and glorious, fallen and redeemed, and all at the same time. They would be too heartbreaking to follow, in fact, were they not observed in such a generous and artful spirit of hope, in a spirit of mercy, in the spirit of love. A treasure of a novel.' Paul Harding, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Tinkers
Ayana Mathis lives in New York. This is her first novel.