Cover image for She would be king [large print] / Wayetu Moore.
Title:
She would be king [large print] / Wayetu Moore.
ISBN:
9781432862176
Edition:
Large print edition.
Publication Information:
Waterville, Maine : Thorndike Press, a part of Gale, a Cengage Company, 2019.

©2018
Physical Description:
559 pages (large print) ; 23 cm
General Note:
"Thorndike Press large print basic."
Abstract:
Gbessa, exiled from the West African village of Lai, is starved, bitten by a viper, and left for dead, but still she survives. June Dey, raised on a plantation in Virginia, hides his unusual strength until a confrontation with the overseer forces him to flee. Norman Aragon, child of a white British colonizer and a Maroon slave from Jamaica, can fade from sight when the earth calls him. When the three meet in the settlement of Monrovia, their gifts help them salvage the tense relationship between the African American settlers and the indigenous tribes, as a new nation forms around them. -- adapted from jacket.
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Summary

Summary

The dramatic story of Liberia's early years reimagined through three unforgettable characters. Gbessa, exiled from her West African village, is starved, bitten by a viper, and left for dead, yet still survives. Raised on a Virginia plantation, June Dey hides his unusual strength until a confrontation with the overseer forces him to flee. Norman Aragon, child of a white British colonizer and a Jamaican Maroon slave, can fade from sight when the earth calls him. When the three meet in the settlement of Monrovia, their gifts help to salvage the tense relationship between African American settlers and the indigenous tribes as a new nation forms around them.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Moore's debut explores the contradictions of Liberia's tenuous 19th-century beginnings in this impressive fantasy that revolves around three indelible characters. A Vai girl, Gbessa, is cursed for being born on the day a wicked fellow tribe member dies. Thirteen years later, she is left in the woods to die but miraculously survives years of deprivation and a lethal snake bite. June Dey, born on a Virginia plantation, restrains his inhuman strength until seeing his mother brutally punished unleashes his rage. He flees slavery, discovering that bullets and knives bounce off him. Norman Aragon inherits the ability to become invisible from his Jamaican mother and fair complexion from his British father, who plots to take him to England for scientific experimentation. The three separately find their way to Monrovia and join together briefly to fight back against slavers. Gbessa narrowly escapes being kidnapped by slavers, gets taken in as a housemaid for a family of former American slaves that have settled in Africa, and endures the lingering prejudices of her employers after marrying into their social circle. June and Norman discover ongoing slave raids in the countryside and use their gifts to help the fledgling state's fractured tribes fight European meddlers. Moore uses an accomplished, penetrating style-with clever swerves into fantasy-to build effective critiques of tribal misogyny, colonial abuse, and racism. Agent: Susan Golomb, Writers House. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

DEBUT Many books are devoted to connecting Africans of the diaspora, yet Margaret Mead Fellow Moore's debut does so with remarkable physical, spiritual, and mystical dimensions. It reimagines the formation of Liberia through protagonists June Dey, a runaway from Virginia after conflict with his overseer; Norman, a freedman of mixed race from Jamaica; and, mainly, Gbessa, a woman from the native Vai tribe, who is deemed a witch and ostracized by fellow villagers. What seems a chance meeting is Mother Africa bringing them together for their gifts to be used to save Liberia, which still draws European enslavers despite the illegalization of the transatlantic slave trade. Whether separately or together, their encounters with others reveal their many--layered personalities as well as the changing societies around them. The descriptions of racism are not overt; Moore uses the experiences to reveal the systemic oppression of Africans of the diaspora and the desire to reconnect with the continent. The dialog is fluid and poetic, allowing readers to imagine the events, sights, smells, feelings, and sensations. VERDICT As with Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing, this work will appeal to lovers of African, African American, and literary -fiction.-Ashanti White, Fayetteville, NC © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.