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Libertie

A Novel

Kaitlyn Greenidge

Hardcover

List Price: 26.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Other Editions of This Title:
Library Binding, Large Print (5/12/2021)

Description

Named One of the Most-Anticipated Books of 2021 by:
O, The Oprah MagazineThe MillionsRefinery29Garden & GunPublishers LunchBuzzFeedThe RumpusBookPageHarper's Bazaar, Ms. Magazine, and more

“Pure brilliance. So much will be written about Libertie—how it blends history and magic into a new kind of telling, how it spins the past to draw deft circles around our present—but none of it will measure up to the singular joy of reading this book.”

Mira Jacob, author of Good Talk

“This is one of the most thoughtful and amazingly beautiful books I’ve read all year. Kaitlyn Greenidge is a master storyteller.”
Jacqueline Woodson, author of Red at the Bone

The critically acclaimed and Whiting Award–winning author of We Love You, Charlie Freeman returns with Libertie, an unforgettable story about one young Black girl’s attempt to find a place where she can be fully, and only, herself.

Coming of age as a freeborn Black girl in Reconstruction-era Brooklyn, Libertie Sampson is all too aware that her purposeful mother, a practicing physician, has a vision for their future together: Libertie is to go to medical school and practice alongside her. But Libertie, drawn more to music than science, feels stifled by her mother’s choices and is hungry for something else—is there really only one way to have an autonomous life? And she is constantly reminded that, unlike her mother, who can pass, Libertie has skin that is too dark. When a young man from Haiti proposes to Libertie and promises she will be his equal on the island, she accepts, only to discover that she is still subordinate to him and all men. As she tries to parse what freedom actually means for a Black woman, Libertie struggles with where she might find it—for herself and for generations to come.

Inspired by the life of one of the first Black female doctors in the United States and rich with historical detail, Kaitlyn Greenidge’s new and immersive novel will resonate with readers eager to understand our present through a deep, moving, and lyrical dive into our complicated past.


Praise For Libertie: A Novel

A Roxane Gay Audacious Book Club Selection (May)
A For Colored Girls Book Club Selection (April)
A Well-Read Black Girl Book Club Selection (May)


“This is one of the most thoughtful and amazingly beautiful books I’ve read all year. Kaitlyn Greenidge is a master storyteller.”
—Jacqueline Woodson, author of Red at the Bone

“Pure brilliance. So much will be written about Kaitlyn Greenidge’s Libertie—how it blends history and magic into a new kind of telling, how it spins the past to draw deft circles around our present—but none of it will measure up to the singular joy of reading this book.”
Mira Jacob, author of Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations 

“Wielding both her knowledge of our history and her incredible sense of story, Kaitlyn Greenidge further establishes herself as one of the sharpest minds working today. Libertie is a novel of epic power and endless grace.”
Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, author of Friday Black

“In this singular novel, Kaitlyn Greenidge confronts the anonymizing forces of history with her formidable gifts. Libertie is a glorious, piercing song for the ages—fierce, brilliant, and utterly free.”
Brandon Taylor, author of Real Life

"I want to say that Kaitlyn Greenidge's Libertie is a glorious diasporic literary song, but the novel is so much more than that. A book so deeply invested in the politics and place of silence is one of the most melodious books I've read in decades. The ambition in Libertie is only exceeded by Greenidge's skill. This is it."
Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy

“From the first page, Greenidge catapults us into a masterfully crafted story in which the possibilities, limitations and shifting contours of freedom for Black people take center stage . . . She conjures a fiercely gorgeous, complex portrait of life for Black women during the Reconstruction era. It is a story that’s at once politically weighted and intimately resonant . . . Greenidge perfectly weds the precision of historical details and context with fantastical elements of myth and magic to illuminate the enduring questions: What does freedom mean for Black girls and women? What does it look, smell, feel, sound and taste like? Libertie is a beautifully written meditation on Black liberation and imagination. It is exquisite historical fiction that lovingly reminds us to reassess our own present-day commitments to fighting for, and practicing, freedom.”
Ms. magazine

“Kaitlyn Greenidge has built a lush, imaginative novel, as dark and beautiful as its namesake yet as relevant today as during its 19th-century setting. I didn’t want it to end, and I fear that any attempt to render its complexity with brevity equals a failure to capture the book’s vast depth and its conversation with so many other important historical and literary works. A page turner and a gorgeous winner.”
Nafissa Thompson-Spires, author of Heads of the Colored People 

“The voice that fuels this novel is rooted in the body and rises toward myth, forged of history, ocean salt, iron, and hope. With Libertie, Kaitlyn Greenidge adds an indelible new sound to American literature, and confirms her status as one of our most gifted young writers.”
Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You and Cleanness

“Few novels have as strong a sense of place as this fascinating blend of magical realism and African American historical fiction . . . Greenidge succeeds beautifully at presenting the complexities of an intense mother-daughter bond . . . Greenidge creates a richly layered tapestry of Black communal life, notably Black female life, and the inevitable contradictions and compromises of 'freedom.'”
Booklist, starred review 

“Greenidge (We Love You, Charlie Freeman) delivers another genius work of radical historical fiction . . . This pièce de résistance is so immaculately orchestrated that each character, each setting, and each sentence sings.” 
Publishers Weekly, starred and boxed review

“Stunning . . . This engaging novel immerses readers in a world rich with historical detail that brings to life lesser-known aspects of post–Civil War American history, such as Black women in medicine and the relationship between Haiti and the United States. This will appeal to teenage fans of adult authors like Toni Morrison, Brit Bennett, and Yaa Gyasi.”
School Library Journal, starred review 

“This is a historical novel, a magical novel, a familial novel, a Bildungsroman—a work that defies simple categorization. The complexities herein signify an important writer throwing all her talents and brilliance on the page, offering us more than we deserve. Reading Libertie can feel like reading Toni Morrison. Such a comparison, however, is a disservice to Kaitlyn Greenidge, who is an original light, a writer to emulate, a master of the craft, and a mind we’re fortunate to have living among us.”
Gabriel Bump, author of Everywhere You Don’t Belong

Libertie is a bildungsroman for America in the 21st century, providing us with a spiritual education we sorely need. What is care and what is poison? Where does life end? Where does liberty begin? By creating Libertie—a 19th century “black gal,” a modern existential heroine—Greenidge has resurrected more than an ancestor—she has revived the anger and the love, the grief and the pride, and, above all, the fierce need for freedom that still drive our nation today.”
C. Morgan Babst, author of The Floating World

Algonquin Books, 9781616207014, 336pp.

Publication Date: March 30, 2021



About the Author

Kaitlyn Greenidge's debut novel, We Love You, Charlie Freeman, was one of the New York Times Critics’ Top 10 Books of 2016 and a finalist for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. She is a contributing writer for the New York Times, and her writing has also appeared in Vogue, Glamour, the Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Whiting Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Greenidge lives in Brooklyn, New York.