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Rivers Solomon is the author of An Unkindness of Ghosts, winner of the CLMP Firecracker Award for best independently published novel, and The Deep, a novella written in collaboration with Daveed Diggs and the rap group clipping., which was the winner of the 2020 Lambda Award and a finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, Locus and Goodreads Choice literary awards. Faer writing has been featured in Black Warrior Review, The New York Times, Guernica, Best American Short Stories and elsewhere. Originally from Turtle Island, fae currently lives in London with faer family.
From its arresting opening (“The child gushed out from twixt Vern’s legs ragged and smelling of salt. Slight, he was, and feeble as a promise”), Rivers Solomon’s Sorrowland is an exquisite fusion of folkloric atmosphere and raw human experience. Through the eyes of unforgettable, invincible Vern, and in luminously commanding language, Solomon explores racism, religion, misogyny and motherhood with magnificent boldness. Fifteen-year-old Vern’s firstborn arrived in the world without his mother’s albinism and his father’s “yellow-bonedness”. His skin was “dark-dark, and Vern found it hard to believe that the African ancestry that begat such a hue had ever once been disrupted by whiteness.” And then comes his twin - two brothers, Howling and Feral, born in the woods beyond the Blessed Acres of Cain compound that Vern fled two months ago. With origins in the Black Power movement, the religious community’s survivalist ethos stands her in good stead for a life in the wild - “she always had a way of getting what she needed from the earth”. Years pass and Vern tells her now-toddler sons about Cainland’s history, about the “white doctors who came in the night to rob Black People for medical experimentation” as she notices strange shifts in her body - it heals from terrible burns and rotting infections. “A side effect of the poison they’d been giving her giving her since birth” she thinks, soon deciding they must leave the woods. This unfamiliar outside world “increased Howling’s surliness and transformed Feral’s sweet curiosity into spirited adventurousness”, and the trio attract as much bewildered attention as the world bewilders them. As Vern’s sickness intensifies so too does the creeping sense of pursuit, and rising love and lusts, to create a bizarre and beautiful book that’s entirely unbridled by convention.
'Sorrowland is a wonderland of fantastical and frightening, magical and real. At the centre of this world and leaping off the page is Vern: unstoppable, unforgettable, and unlike anyone you have ever seen before.' MARLON JAMES, Booker Prize-winning author 'A fantastical, fierce reckoning ... Sorrowland is gorgeous, and the writing, the storytelling, are magnificent. This country has a dark history of what it's willing to do to black bodies, and Rivers Solomon lays that truth bare in a most unexpected, absolutely brilliant way.' ROXANE GAY __________________________ Vern, a Black woman with albinism, is hunted after escaping a religious compound, then she discovers that her body is changing and that she is developing extra-sensory powers. Alone in the woods, she gives birth to twins and raises them away from the influence of the outside world. But something is wrong - not with them, but with her own body. It's itching, it's stronger, it's... not normal. To understand her body's metamorphosis, Vern must investigate not just the secluded religious compound she fled but the violent history of dehumanisation, medical experimentation, and genocide that produced it. In the course of reclaiming her own darkness, Vern learns that monsters aren't just individuals, but entire histories, systems, and nations. __________________________
Aster has little to offer folks in the way of rebuttal when they call her ogre and freak. She's used to the names; she only wishes there was more truth to them. If she were truly a monster, she'd be powerful enough to tear down the walls around her until nothing remains of her world.Aster lives in the lowdeck slums of the HSS Matilda, a space vessel organized much like the antebellum South. For generations, Matilda has ferried the last of humanity to a mythical Promised Land. On its way, the ship's leaders have imposed harsh moral restrictions and deep indignities on dark-skinned sharecroppers like Aster. Embroiled in a grudge with a brutal overseer, Aster learns there may be a way to improve her lot-if she's willing to sow the seeds of civil war.