If Sons, Then Heirs
By Lorene Cary
(Atria Books, Hardcover, 9781451610222, 320pp.)
Publication Date: April 19, 2011
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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The critically acclaimed author of Black Ice, Pride, and The Price of a Child offers this deeply moving story of a family’s challenge to reunite, understand the truth about its past, and secure its legacy.
If Sons, Then Heirs sheds light on a uniquely American, largely untold story of African American land ownership, the outmigration from the South, racial violence, and the consequences of past decisions on present realities.
After World War II, Needham family members migrated north to Philadelphia from South Carolina, leaving behind the tragic injustice surrounding the violent death of their patriarch, King. His devoted widow, Selma, remains on the old home place. Over the years, she raises King’s children, including his great-grandson, Rayne, on whom falls the responsibility to bring the family together to save the family land and mend the rift between him and his mother.
Rayne and the other vividly drawn characters face challenges big and small that mirror the experiences of families everywhere. But in the masterful storytelling of Lorene Cary, so distinct and unique are their voices that they will live in the minds of readers long after the last page is read. If Sons, Then Heirs is a tour de force that explores the power of family secrets, bonds, and love. This gripping novel is certain to be on the must-read lists of all who enjoy brilliantly rendered stories of family, love, and American history.
Lorene Cary is the author of Black Ice, The Price of a Child, Pride, and a book for young readers, Free! Great Escapes on the Underground Railroad. She is the founder and director of Art Sanctuary (www.artsanctuary.org), a nonprofit lecture and performance series in Philadelphia. Cary is also a senior lecturer in creative writing at the University of Pennsylvania. She’s a past recipient of the Philadelphia Award, the city's highest civic honor. Cary lives in Philadelphia. She and her husband, the Reverend Robert C. Smith, have two daughters, Laura and Zoë. For more information visit her website at www.lorenecary.org.
“Engaging. . . . Cary creates characters with such full-bodied life that their predicaments remain vivid.” —The New York Times Book Review