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SJP Picks

“From an early age, books were my constant companions and my local library a place I could find a new friend on every shelf.”

She Would Be King

By Wayétu Moore

Why I chose this book

“It’s a privilege to announce She Would Be King by Wayétu Moore as the new selection for Book Club Central. This novel dazzles with beauty and transcendent, transformative humanity. Through the stories of Gbessa, June Dey, and Norman Aragon, Wayétu Moore illuminates what it means to be of and from places that are both faraway and inescapably familiar. I treasured every moment I spent in the pages of this book, and I’m thrilled to be able share it with all of you.” —Sarah Jessica Parker

Published by Graywolf Press (visit website)

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Booklist Review

“Moore’s stunning debut novel is a magic-realism tour de force taking readers on a journey through the beginnings of Liberia. Gbessa, a girl shunned as a witch by her own Vai people who later comes to terms with her immortality, is a heroine cast in the mold of legendary women. June Dey, with his extraordinary strength and almost supernatural origins, becomes a metaphorical representation of the journey of former slaves who moved from plantations in the American South to the newly created settlement of Monrovia. And then there is Norman Aragon, of mixed race, who fulfills his mother’s deep desire to move to the free state from Jamaica, even as he comes to terms with his own power to disappear. Moore trusts her readers to follow complex characters and breathtaking plot twists as she brings together the story of what all of them leave behind and where they come together to create a brave new world. There is an aching sweetness to Moore’s writing that effectively captures the dichotomous and vulnerable strength of her protagonists and catapults this into the realm of books that cast a long-lingering spell.” —Booklist, starred review

About the Author

Wayétu Moore is the founder of One Moore Book and is a graduate of Howard University, Columbia University, and the University of Southern California. She teaches at the City University of New York’s John Jay College and lives in Brooklyn. Visit her website.

Moore, Wayétu (Yoni Levy)
Photo credit: Yoni Levy

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