Let Us Descend by Jesmyn Ward

Let Us Descend by Jesmyn Ward

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“‘Let us descend,’ the poet now began, ‘and enter this blind world.’” —Inferno, Dante Alighieri
Let Us Descend is a reimagining of American slavery, as beautifully rendered as it is heart-wrenching. Searching, harrowing, replete with transcendent love, the novel is a journey from the rice fields of the Carolinas to the slave markets of New Orleans and into the fearsome heart of a Louisiana sugar plantation.
Annis, sold south by the white enslaver who fathered her, is the reader’s guide through this hellscape. As she struggles through the miles-long march, Annis turns inward, seeking comfort from memories of her mother and stories of her African warrior grandmother. Throughout, she opens herself to a world beyond this world, one teeming with spirits: of earth and water, of myth and history; spirits who nurture and give, and those who manipulate and take. While Ward leads readers through the descent, this, her fourth novel, is ultimately a story of rebirth and reclamation.
From one of the most singularly brilliant and beloved writers of her generation, this miracle of a novel inscribes Black American grief and joy into the very land—the rich but unforgiving forests, swamps, and rivers of the American South. 
Let Us Descend is Jesmyn Ward’s most magnificent novel yet, a masterwork for the ages.


"[Ward's] most masterful work yet... Pitting ancestral wisdom and human connection against the arbitrary brutality of slavery, this book will have readers torn between wanting to savor the richness of every sentence and needing to know, immediately, what happens next."Oprah Daily

“Overwhelming . . . This is a novel of triumph. . . . Running up against the limits of faith in the face of calamity, Annis eventually hammers out a relationship to the spirit world, complete with a rough-hewn existential philosophy that is both revolutionary and entirely consistent with the tools at her disposal.”Washington Post

“Ward is one of America’s finest living writers… Ward’s mesmerizing sentences, her dazzling descriptions of the natural and unnatural, the way she coerces time and guides readers between a heartbreakingly familiar story of torment and moments of sublime tenderness, suggests a protean artist in her element.”San Francisco Chronicle

Trade Paperback
Publisher: Scribner
ISBN: 978-1982104498
Pages: 320