The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis ⋆ Green Woman Store
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The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis

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The story of one family’s journey from the segregated South through five and a half turbulent, soul-searching decades: the Great Migration of 6 million African Americans out of the rural South to the Northeast, Midwest, and Western U.S. The story of a mother monumental courage and the journey of a nation.

New York Times Notable Book
An NPR Best Book of the Year
A Buzzfeed Best Book of the Year

In 1923, fifteen-year-old Hattie Shepherd, swept up by the tides of the Great Migration, flees Georgia and heads north. Full of hope, she settles in Philadelphia to build a better life. Instead she marries a man who will bring her nothing but disappointment, and watches helplessly as her firstborn twins are lost to an illness that a few pennies could have prevented. Hattie gives birth to nine more children, whom she raises with grit, mettle, and not an ounce of the tenderness they crave. She vows to prepare them to meet a world that will not be kind. Their lives, captured here in twelve luminous threads, tell the story of a mother’s monumental courage–and a nation’s tumultuous journey.

Description

A major new voice in contemporary fiction. A debut of extraordinary distinction: Ayana Mathis tells the story of the children of the Great Migration through the trials of one unforgettable family.

Beautiful and devastating, harrowing and unexpectedly uplifting and blazing with life. An emotionally transfixing page-turner. A searing portrait of striving in the face of insurmountable adversity, an indelible encounter with the resilience of the human spirit and the driving force of the American dream.

In 1923, fifteen-year-old Hattie Shepherd flees Georgia and settles in Philadelphia, hoping for a chance at a better life. Instead, she marries a man who will bring her nothing but disappointment and watches helplessly as her firstborn twins succumb to an illness a few pennies could have prevented.  Hattie gives birth to nine more children whom she raises with grit and mettle and not an ounce of the tenderness they crave.  She vows to prepare them for the calamitous difficulty they are sure to face in their later lives, to meet a world that will not love them, a world that will not be kind. Captured here in twelve luminous narrative threads, their lives tell the story of a mother’s monumental courage and the journey of a nation.

Listen to Ayana talk about her writing process with Sheryl McCarthy:

Ayana Mathis is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is a recipient of the Michener-Copernicus Fellowship. The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is her first novel.

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