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COMING JANUARY 5, 2021 from G.P. PUTNAM'S SONS

 
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What a rare

marvel this book is . . . 

Rarely is a book this finely

wrought, the lives and histories it

holds so tenderly felt, and

rendered unforgettably true.

I’m convinced Morrison, Baldwin,

and Bambara sat around sipping

wine one night, talking about the

day we’d read an offering like 

The Prophets. Robert Jones, Jr. is a

once-in-a-generation cultural

worker whose art thankfully will be

imitated for generations.

I’ve loved the writing of

Robert Jones, Jr., for years, and 

The Prophets is an absolute

triumph, a symphonic evocation

of the heights and depths of

pain, joy, and love.

OCEAN VUONG

author of 

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

KIESE LAYMON 

author of 

Heavy: An American Memoir

R.O. KWON

author of 

The Incendiaries

 

A MESSAGE FROM

ROBERT JONES, JR.

 
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THE PROPHETS

A singular and stunning debut novel about the forbidden union between two enslaved young men on a Deep South plantation, the refuge they find in each other, and a betrayal that threatens their existence.

Isaiah was Samuel's and Samuel was Isaiah's. That was the way it was since the beginning, and the way it was to be until the end. In the barn they tended to the animals, but also to each other, transforming the hollowed-out shed into a place of human refuge, a source of intimacy and hope in a world ruled by vicious masters. But when an older man—a fellow slave—seeks to gain favor by preaching the master's gospel on the plantation, the enslaved begin to turn on their own. Isaiah and Samuel's love, which was once so simple, is seen as sinful and a clear danger to the plantation's harmony.

With a lyricism reminiscent of Toni Morrison, Robert Jones, Jr., fiercely summons the voices of slaver and enslaved alike, from Isaiah and Samuel to the calculating slave master to the long line of women that surround them, women who have carried the soul of the plantation on their shoulders. As tensions build and the weight of centuries—of ancestors and future generations to come—culminates in a climactic reckoning, The Prophets masterfully reveals the pain and suffering of inheritance, but is also shot through with hope, beauty, and truth, portraying the enormous, heroic power of love.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ROBERT JONES, JR., was born and raised in New York City. He received his BFA in creative writing with honors and MFA in fiction from Brooklyn College. He has written for numerous publications, including The New York Times, Essence, OkayAfrica, The Feminist Wire, and The Grio. He is the creator of the social justice social media community Son of Baldwin. Jones was recently featured in T Magazine's cover story, "Black Male Writers of Our Time." The Prophets is his debut novel.

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© Alberto Vargas
 
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