Lovers of gorgeous prose and ghost-soaked literary fiction rejoice: two-time National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward’s next novel officially has a release date. Let Us Descend, Ward’s first novel in five years (since 2017’s Sing, Unburied Sing) will be published by Scribner on October 3.
The publisher has described the novel as “a blend of magical realism, historical narrative and Dante’s Inferno,” which sounds like Ward to a T. In a statement, Ward said that she wanted to show the “hard truth” of the life of the book’s protagonist, Annis, and how it feels to “have little to no physical agency over her own body.”
“I also wanted to encourage readers to feel with and for Annis, and to recreate her experience as viscerally as possible. It took years and multiple drafts to understand how Annis and enslaved people might have retained their sense of self, their sense of hope, in a time and place that attempted to negate both, day in and out,” Ward said.
Ward added that she took the time to “figure out how to look straight at her life and relay the harshness and terror of her days, but also to recognize her resistance, her tenderness, her imagination, her belief in who she is and what she is capable of, which she retains, even through the deepest darkness.”
(via AP News)