Palmares by Gayl Jones

Published: 2021 1. First lines. 2. Cover: Hachette 3. Colonial Brazil [Public Domain] via Wikimedia 4. Map [Public Domain] via Wikimedia

This is the story of Almeyda, a slave in 17th Century Brazil. She escapes to a community of other freed slaves called Palmares. When it is destroyed, she starts a long journey to find the husband from whom she was separated.

“It’s a longer story than it comes out as being in my telling it.”

BOOK SNAPS: For this reader, the book was hard work. Hard to keep track of characters, (“the conveyor belt of new characters is disorienting“ notes the Guardian), hard work to distinguish between imagined and mystical elements, (“The magical elements are difficult to get an initial purchase on, as they aren’t given much explanation” says Publishers Weekly), and hard work to have feelings for the characters. The Guardian calls it “a once-in-a-lifetime work of literature”, and “ a book that’s full of imagination and visionary thinking.” Overall, it is definitely a ”horrifyingly accurate portrayal of racial struggle.” Publishers Weekly


“We help our brothers and sisters who wish to escape to you in Palmares.”

”I don’t trust a woman that talks like a man and talks to men so freely. Then I found out she was writing about us, writing about her views of all the countries she’s been in, even Africa she’s traveled to. I didn’t want to be in her tales of some wild and savage country, because that’s the way she probably saw us. In this new world.”

Author: Gayl Jones

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