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The Prophets

– tekijä: Robert Jones Jr.

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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 8) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
historical fiction (two gay enslaved men amongst other enslaved people, each with their own concerns and dreams)

I listened to maybe 5 hours of this (and only had 9-1/2 more to go!), but kept getting distracted and wasn't really absorbing the story that well, so I decided to return it early (since there was still a waitlist of people wanting to read it). I'd probably do better with it in print.

It is long, but I liked the writing style, and the narrator/reader did an excellent job portraying the various voices. According to the blurb, Samuel and Isaiah have the "main" storyline but I was enjoying hearing the others' viewpoints too; I just wish I could've focused better. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
Extremely flowery language, the whole book is almost poetry- absolutely not my cup of tea. While the story (although hidden under so many layers of cryptic symbolism) was good, it could have been developed way better. The characters were all half baked with far too many points of view which did not add to the narrative at all. The book was very hyped and was a huge let down. ( )
  Annievdm | May 17, 2021 |
Samuel and Isaiah are teenagers enslaved on an isolated plantation in southern Mississippi nicknamed Empty by its human chattel. The one thing that gives the couple comfort in their bleak lives is their deep love for each other. As might be expected, their story ends in tragedy.

Debut author Jones depicts the brutality of slave ships and plantation life in prose so lyrical, it can be hard to tell what is actually happening. I wanted to like this book more than I did. It just seemed to go on forever. ( )
  akblanchard | Mar 22, 2021 |
The Prophets is nothing less than a brilliant piece of writing. Robert Jones, Jr., unwinds this story—set primarily on a plantation in the pre-Civil War south—slowly. The narrative is largely in third person, with each chapter focusing on a different character, building a rich understanding of the overlapping worlds each character occupies. Because the chapters focus on different characters, readers experience overlapping versions of events that wouldn't be possible with a more limited narrative focus. The characters are primarily slaves, and the detail with which Jones explores their inner and outer worlds brings across the daily reality and inhumanity of slavery more strikingly than any other book I've read.

The exception to Jones' use of third person is the chapters narrated by the old gods of Africa, no longer as powerful as they once were, but still watching over the descendants of those who worshiped them. These chapters are written in first person plural and wrestle with ideas and history over great swathes of time, as opposed to daily happenings.

In The Prophets, Jones explores gay relationships—both in the African homeland and on the plantation. The central action of the novel is the struggle of Samuel and Izaiah, who share responsibility for caring for the animals on the plantation, who sleep in the barn, and who love each other both deeply and, sometimes, uneasily.

I don't have detailed knowledge of the time period—or of life in Africa before the slave trade with Europe and America opened up—to determine the accuracy of Jones' portrayal of the cultures, relationships, and perspectives Jones depicts, but I can say that I was completely and absolutely convinced by his portrayals.

When you reach the end of The Prophets, take time to read through Jones' extensive acknowledgements section. His thanks extend from friends and relatives to embrace a world of performers, activists, writers, teachers, and artists—all of whom he credits with helping him become the man and writer he is. In acknowledging these many figures, living and dead, Jones demonstrates importance of an extended understanding of community in the development of the individual, particularly for someone fighting to empower himself and his community in the face of ongoing oppression. The acknowledgments can also serve as an excellent ground for exploring artists and individuals readers may want to learn more about.

Despite the fact that this book is coming out in early January, I am absolutely convinced that it will remain on my list of the year's best books when we reach December 2021. It's also a title I will be rereading soon because I know my first reading of The Prophets has only begun to grasp the richness of all that Jones presents.

I received a free electronic review copy of this book from the publisher via EdelweissPlus; the opinions are my own. ( )
2 ääni Sarah-Hope | Mar 16, 2021 |
'The Prophets' is the story of those living on an antebellum plantation named Elizabeth, but known to its residents as Empty. The story centers on the relationship between Isaac and Samuel and their love for one another that makes the life they lead more bearable. Other lives figure in. There is Amos who aims to convert his fellow slaves to Christianity in the vain hope that it will inspire their captors to recognize their humanity, More importantly there is Maggie and Be Auntie and the other women of the plantation that have their own ways of protecting each other and surviving.

The novel stabs you in the chest and yet it beautiful as well. The timeline of the novel shifts to witness the events of the past that led to slavery and the hardships endured for decades with little pieces lost with every passing year. I had to take the book slowly and it will be a long time before I'm not haunted by it. ( )
1 ääni ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 27, 2021 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 8) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
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